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Happy Birthday to...

206 posts in this topic

...Paul Giamatti (born on June 6, 1967), the veteran character actor who sometimes gets opportunities to play leading men.
 
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He has been nominated for one Academy Award: 
  • Joe Gould in "Cinderella Man" (2005). Best Supporting Actor.

His father was A. Bartlett Giamatti, the onetime president of Yale University who often waxed poetic about baseball. On April 1, 1989, he became the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball, but died of a massive heart attack on August 24. For much of his short tenure, he had been involved with the Pete Rose gambling controversy -- which led to the banishment of the former baseball great. 

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One of Paul Giamatti's early roles was in the 1997 comedy biopic "Private Parts," based on the 1993 best-selling book by radio shock jock Howard Stern (who played himself in the movie). Giamatti portrayed WNBC Radio program director Kenny Rushton (called "Pig Vomit" by Stern in the movie), who clashed with the irrepressible on-air star in the early 1980s.
 
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In Steven Spielberg's 1998 hit "Saving Private Ryan," Giamatti played
Staff Sgt. Hill, a member of the 101st Airborne in the days after the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. While in the French town of Neuville, Hill inadvertently knocked over a plank -- and exposed a  small group of Germans in the collapsed remains of a building.
 
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In the 2003 comedy/drana "American Splendor," Giamatti portrayed Harvey Pekar (1939-2010), the Cleveland-based underground comics artist who became a national celebrity during his occasional appearances on David Letterman's NBC late-night talk show. Written and directed by the documentary filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (who shared an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), the film also starred Hope Davis as Pekar's wife Joyce Brabner.
 
 
The 2004 comedy/drama "Sideways" starred Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as friends who went on a road trip through Southern California's wine country. Based on the 2004 novel by Rex Pickett, the film was directed by Alexander Payne ("Election"), who shared a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar with co-writer Jim Taylor. The production received four other Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Church) and Best Supporting Actress (Virginia Madsen). 
 
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Ron Howard's 2006 biopic "Cinderella Man" featured Giamatti as Joe Gould (1896-1950), the manager and cornerman for the heavyweight boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) during the 1930s. For his performance, Giamatti earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
 
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Giamatti won a Primetime Emmy Award for "John Adams," the seven-part 2008 HBO miniseries about the Founding Father who became the second U.S. president. For his portrayal of Adams, Giamatti received the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Laura Linney, who appeared as Adams' wife and frequent correspondent Abigail, earned the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Produced by Tom Hanks' Play Tone production company, the historical tale earned a record 13 overall Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries. "John Adams" was based on the acclaimed 2001 biography by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough.
 
 
In 2010, Giamatti starred as the ailing title character in the Canadian drama "Barney's Version." The film, based on the 1997 book by Mordecai Richler, also starred Dustin Hoffman as Barney's father and Rosamund Pike (pictured below), Rachelle Lefevre and Minnie Driver as his three wives. For his performance, Giamatti won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
 
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Since 2016, Giamatti has played the dogged U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhodes in the Showtime drama series "Billions." The character has been watching the activities of the hedge fund wizard Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis).
 
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...James Ivory (born on June 7, 1928), the American-born filmmaker known for decades of quality motion pictures. He holds the record for being the oldest winner -- at the age of 89 --of a competitive Academy Award.
 
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He has been nominated for four Academy Awards (Oscar win in bold):
  • 1986 -- Best Director (for "A Room with a View"). 
  • 1992 -- Best Director (for "Howard's End").
  • 1993 -- Best Director (for "The Remains of the Day").
  • 2017 -- Best Adapted Screenplay (for "Call Me By Your Name").

Ivory became known for his screen collaborations with the two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927-2013) and his longtime personal and producing partner Ismail Merchant (1936-2005). 

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In 1979, Norman Snow and Lisa Eichhorn starred in "The Europeans" -- an early Merchant Ivory film based on the 19th-century novel by Henry James. For her performance as Gertrude Wentworth, Eichhorn received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She lost to her "Yanks" co-star Rachel Roberts -- who played her mother in the World War II film.

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Based on the 1908 novel by the British author E.M. Forster, the 1985 screen version of "A Room With a View" was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won for Best Adapted Screenplay (Jhabvala), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow, Brian Savegar and Elio Altamura) and Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright). The period piece also received nominations for Best Director (Ivory), Best Supporting Actor (Denholm Elliott), Best Supporting Actress (Dame Maggie Smith) and Best Cinematography (Tony Pierce-Roberts). The film began in Florence, Italy, where a young British woman named Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) vacationed with her chaperone and aunt, Charlotte Bartlett (Smith). Upon her return home to England, Lucy found herself caught between her stuffy fiancé Cecil Vyse (Sir Daniel Day-Lewis) and George Emerson (Julian Sands, pictured below with Bonham Carter), a passionate young man she met in Florence. The movie's recurrent theme song -- Giacomo Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" ("Oh My Beloved Father") from the 1918 comic opera "Gianni Schicchi" -- was performed by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Pritchard.

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Based on the 1910 novel by Forster, "Howards End" (1992) starred Dame Emma Thompson as Margaret Schlegel -- a woman destined to own the title piece of property (although it took a few years). The film marked the first teaming of Thompson and Sir Anthony Hopkins, who played her husband. It also was their first appearance in a Merchant Ivory picture.  The film also starred Vanessa Redgrave and Bonham Carter. At the 65th Academy Awards ceremony held on March 29, 1993, "Howards End" was nominated for nine Oscars -- including Best Picture. It won for Best Actress (Thompson), Best Adapted Screenplay (Jhabvala) and Best Art Direction (Luciana Arrighi, art direction; Ian Whittaker, set decoration).

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Iin 1993, Thompson and Hopkins starred in "The Remains of the Day" -- a drama based on the 1989 novel by the British Nobel laureate Sir Kazuo Ishiguro. Hopkins played a repressed butler so devoted to his duties at a British estate, he overlooked a possible romantic relationship with a housekeeper (Thompson). The Merchant Ivory production was adapted from the book by Jhabvala. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins) and Best Actress (Thompson), Also starring in the production: James Fox, Peter Vaughan, Hugh Grant, Michael Lonsdale, Ben Chaplin, Tim Pigott-Smith and Lena Headey.
 
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Ivory adapted the screenplay for "Call Me By Your Name," the acclaimed 2017 coming-of-age tale set in northern Italy in the early 1980s. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film, which starred Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, was based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman. The production earned four Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ivory) and Best Original Song ("Mystery of Love" by Sufjan Stevens).

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Ivory wore a shirt featuring Chalamet's image underneath his jacket when he accepted the Adapted Screenplay Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony held on March 4, 2018. At 89, he became the oldest competitive Oscar winner in history. During his acceptance speech, Ivory paid tribute to his late partners Merchant and Jhabvala. "Working with them for close to 50 years at Merchant Ivory led me to this award," he said.


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image.gif...Nancy Sinatra (born on June 8, 1940), the legendary Frank Sinatra's daughter -- who became an actress and a major 1960s pop performer in her own right.  

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Nancy Sandra Sinatra was born in Jersey City, New Jersey -- the eldest child of Frank Sinatra and his first wife Nancy Barbato Sinatra. Her siblings were Frank Jr. (1944-2016) and Tina (b. 1948).

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In 1944, Frank Sr. recorded "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)," which was co-written by James Van Heusen and actor-comedian Phil Silvers. The song wasn't writren about Sinatra's daughter, but he thought it was. Through the years, it was recorded by numerous other performers, including Ray Charles. John Coltrane and Tony Bennett.

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At the age of 19, Nancy Jr. was featured in the May 12, 1960 ABC special "Frank Sinatra's Welcome Home Party for Elvis Presley," which marked the rock 'n' roll star's return to civilian life after four years in the U.S. Army. Also appearing on the program: Clan members Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

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From 1960 to 1965, Sinatra was married to the singer-actor Tommy Sands. He and fellow teen idols Fabian, Paul Anka and Sal Mineo played young American soldiers in "The Longest Day," producer Darryl F. Zanuck's re-creation of the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944,

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Sinatra made her debut as an actress in a 1963 episode of the NBC 90-minute Western series "The Virginian." In "If You Have Tears," she played a saloon singer named Cary who charmed Trampas (played by series regular Doug McClure) in Montana. Other guest stars for the episode -- which originally aired on February 13, 1963 -- were Dana Wynter, Robert Vaughn and Britt Lomond. 

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Her screen debut came a year later in the 1964 teen-oriented comedy "For Those Who Think Young." The film starred James Darren, Pamela Tiffin and Bob Denver (whose character shared a treat with Sinatra's at a college hangout). Also appearing in the film: 
Paul Lynde, Tina Louise, Robert Middleton, Ellen Burstyn (as Ellen McRae), Woody Woodbury, George Raft and Deana Martin (daughter of Dean).

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In 1966, Sinatra became a bona fide pop sensation with her hit song "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'," which was written by her frequent collaborator Lee Hazlewood (1929-2007). It was a No. 1 hit in the United States and the United Kingdom.

After years of doing suspense films based on Edgar Allan Poe titles, independent producer-director Roger Corman changed directions with "The Wild Angels." a 1966 drama about a Hell's Angels biker group in San Pedro, California. The film starred Peter Fonda (pictured below with Sinatra), Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Buck Taylor, Norman Alden, Michael J. Pollard and Gayle Hunnicutt.

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Nancy Jr. earned another No. 1 hit with the 1967 song "Somethin' Stupid," thanks to a little help from her famous father. The duet was nominated for Record of the Year at the 10th annual Grammy Awards in 1968. 

In 1967, Hazlewood and Sinatra covered the 1963 Billy Edd Wheeler song "Jackson" -- which also became a country hit that year (and a Grammy Award-winning song) for Johnny Cash and June Carter. The Hazlewood-Sinatra version peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard pop chart.

Also in 1967, Sinatra became the first woman vocalist not named Dame Shirley Bassey to perform the theme for a James Bond film. "You Only Live Twice" (from the 007 picture of the same title) was written by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse. 

Another Sinatra-Hazlewood collaboration was the song "Some Velvet Morning," which was aired on her December 1967 NBC special "Movin' with Nancy." The program was directed by Jack Haley, Jr. and written by Tom Mankiewicz. The song, written by Hazlewood, peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard pop chart in 1968.

Sinatra reunited with Elvis in the 1968 film "Speedway." He played a NASCAR driver with financial problems. She appeared as an Internal Revenue Service dispatched to keep an eye on him. Directed by Norman Taurog, the film also starred Bill Bixby, Gale Gordon, William Schallert, Carl Ballantine and Victoria Paige Meyerink.

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In 1970, Sinatra married the Hollywood dancer and choreographer Hugh Lambert, who died of cancer in 1985. They provided Frank Sinatra with his only grandchildren. Pictured from left to right: granddaughter Amanda Catherine Lambert Erlinger (b. 1976), Frank Sinatra, granddaughter Angela Jennifer "A.J." Lambert Paparozzi (b. 1974) and Tina Sinatra. Amanda is a photographer and an artist. A.J. is a pop-jazz singer who has been known to perform her grandfather's hits.

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...Natalie Portman (born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Jerusalem, Israel on June 9, 1981), the onetime child actress who became an Academy Award-winning star. She has dual American and Israeli citizenship.
 
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She has been nominated for three Academy Awards. Her recognized roles and movies are as follows (Oscar win in bold): 
  • Alice in "Closer" (2004). Best Supporting Actress..
  • Nina Sayers in "Black Swan" (2010). Best Actress.
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in "Jackie" (2016). Best Actress.
Portman was 13 years old in her first professional acting role. In French filmmaker Luc Bresson's 1994 drama "The Professional" (released outside the United States as "Léon"), she played Mathilda -- the preteen survivor of a hit that killed her father -- a New York City drug underling -- and the rest of her family. The killings were ordered by a corrupt DEA agent (played by Gary Oldman). Mathilda came under the protection of Léon (Jean Reno), a hitman who lived in her apartment building.
 
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In Michael Mann's 1995 crime drama "Heat," Portman was the focus of a tragic subplot. She played Lauren Gustafson, the depressed stepdaughter of Los Angeles police detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Written and directed by Mann, the film also starred Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora (as the girl's mother), Amy Brenneman and Ashley Judd.
 
Al Pacino and Natalie Portman in Heat (1995)
 
In 1999, Portman was one of the main characters in "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" -- George Lucas' first new installment of his blockbuster space franchise in 16 years. In the prequel to the original "Star Wars" trilogy, Portman played Queen Amidala -- the 14-year-old elected monarch of the planet Naboo. Her character -- essential to the developments of the other films -- also appeared in "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" (2002) and "Star Wars: Episode III; Revenge of the Sith."
 
 
A side noteIn some scenes in "The Phantom Menace," Keira Knightley (pictured below left) played Amidala's handmaiden Sabé -- who acted as a decoy to assure the queen's safety. Portman's Amidala is at the far right, next to the handmaiden Saché (played by Sofia Coppola, now a director).
 
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Clive Owen and Portman received supporting Academy Award nominations for the 2004 drama "Closer," directed by Mike Nichols. Based on the 1997 play by Britain's Patrick Marber, the film featured Owen as a man drawn to an American stripper in London. They both became part of a romantic quadrangle that also involved characters played by Julia Roberts and Jude Law. Both Owen and Portman won Golden Globes for their performances. Owen had starred in the original London stage production, but his character was the one played by Law in the film version.
 
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Portman sacrificed her hair for art in "V for Vendetta," the 2006 dystopian drama set in a British society of the future. She starred as Evey Hammond, a political prisoner who became the protégée -- and potential successor -- of a masked freedom fighter played by Hugo Weaving. Directed by James McTeigue ("Ninja Assassin"), the film was based on the 1980s British graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd and Tony Weare. 
 
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Based on Philippa Gregory's 2001 historical novel, "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008) starred Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn and Portman as her sister Anne. Both siblings attracted the attention of Britain's King Henry VIII (portrayed by Eric Bana), but only one became his queen. 
 
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In Darren Aronofsly's 2010 drama "Black Swan," Portman starred as a New York ballerina struggling to hold onto her sanity before an important production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" ballet. Also starring in the film: Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Anapau, Janet Montgomery and Sebastian Stan. Portman later married Millepied, a dancer and choreographer for the New York City Ballet. 
 
 
At the 83rd Academy Award ceremony held on February 27, 2011, Portman won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in "Black Swan." She became the first person born in the 1980s to win in that category. She was pregnant at the time with her first child, Aleph Millepied-Portman, who was born almost four months later.
 

image.gifIn the 2016 biopic "Jackie," Portman ("Black Swan") portrayed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929-1994) during and after her years as First Lady of the United States. Directed by the Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain ("Tony Manero"), the film focused on Mrs. Kennedy's post-assassination interview with journalist Theodore H. White for LIFE magazine in which she revealed JFK's fondness for the Broadway cast album of "Camelot."  The film also starred Greta Gerwig (as Mrs. Kennedy's longtime friend and social secretary Nancy Tuckerman), Peter Sarsgaard (as Robert F. Kennedy), Billy Crudup (as White) and Caspar Phillipson (as President Kennedy).

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...Elizabeth Hurley (born June 10, 1965), the British actress, model and swimsuit entrepreneur who emerged as a screen sex symbol in the 1990s. She has been a spokesmodel for Estée Lauder products for almost 25 years.
 
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Hurley made her screen debut in the 1987 anthology film "Aria," comprised of 10 musical segments filmed by 10 different directors. Peter Birch and Hurley appeared in the Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford's contribution that featured the aria "Glück, das mir verblieb" from "Die tote Stadt" by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957).
 
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In 1987, Hurley met the actor Hugh Grant during the making of the Spanish Italian film "Remando al viento" (also known as "Rowing with the Wind"). Set in 1816 at a Swiss villa on Lake Geneva, the picture recounted the origins of Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein." Grant portrayed Lord Byron, while Hurley appeared as Shelley's stepsister Claire Clairmont. Also starring were Lizzy McInnerny (as Shelley) and Valentine Pelka (as her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley). The film, released in 1988, was directed by Spain's Gonzalo Suárez. Hurley and Grant became a couple. Their personal relationship lasted until 2000.
 
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The 1992 action film "Passenger 57" featured Hurley as Sabrina Ritchie, a terrorist posing as a flight attendant on an airline trip to Los Angeles. Her goal: To free her terrorist cohort Charles Rane (Bruce Payne), who was in the custody of FBI agents on the airplane. Although the plan succeeded and the terrorists seized control of the plane, they overlooked the presence of airline security expert John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) -- a former U.S. Secret Service agent with martial arts skills. Directed by Kevin Hooks, the film also starred Tom Sizemore, Alex Datcher and Bruce Greenwood.
 
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In 1994, Hurley became a sensation when she accompanied Grant to the Los Angeles premiere of his film "Four Weddings and a Funeral." It was all because of her black Versace dress, which featured stategically placed gold safety pins. Hurley's attire contributed to her stardom, although she later expressed regrets about wearing it. In 2011, a London department store poll ranked the Versace dress as the greatest red carpet gown of all time. In second place was the white flower patterned Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn at the 1954 Academy Awards ceremony. The Versace dress has its own page on Wikipedia.
 
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The 1997 action film "Dangerous Ground" starred Ice Cube and Hurley as unlikely allies in the South Africa of the early 1980s. He played an activist South African who had been living in the United States for 14 years. When he returned for his father's funeral, he began a search for his missing younger brother. He soon teamed up with his brother's Johannesburg neighbor (Hurley), who revealed the brother was in debt to a local drug lord (Ving Rhames). The drama was directed, co-produced and co-written by the South African filmmaker Darrell Roodt (Sarafina!).  
 
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Hurley co-starred with Mike Myers in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," the story of a 1960s British spy (Myers) revived after 30 years in suspended animation. Hurley played his new partner, Vanessa Kensington -- daughter of his original colleague (Mimi Rogers). In addition, Myers played Powers' archenemy Dr. Evil. Directed by Jay Roach, the James Bond spoof also starred Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling, Michael York, Fabiana Udenio and Will Ferrell.

 
Hurley made a cameo appearance as Vanessa at the beginning of the 1999 sequel "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." During a honeymoon scene, Powers (again played by Myers) discovered something unusual about his new bride. Needless to say, their marriage was short lived. 
 
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In "Bedazzled," the 2000 remake of Stanley Donen's 1967 comedy, Hurley played The Devil -- who offered Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) seven chances for a new lease on life. Directed, co-produced and co-written by Harold Ramis, the film also starred Frances O'Connor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein, Miriam Shor and Brian Doyle-Murray.
 
 
Hurley played a flirtatious member of a modern-day yachting party in Kathryn Bigelow's 2002 mystery "The Weight of Water." Based on the 1997 novel by Anita Shreve, the film focused on two murders in New Hampshire in 1873 and their repercussions on contemporary characters. The film also starred Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack, Josh Lucas, Ciarán Hinds, Sarah Polley, Ulrich Thomsen, Katrin Cartlidge and Vinessa Shaw.
 
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From 2015 to 2018, Hurley starred in the E! primetime series "The Royals," which focused on a fictional contemporary British king and queen and their family. In the drama, derived from the 2011 novel "Falling for Hamlet" by Michelle Ray, Hurley played Queen Helena Henstridge. The Australian actress Alexandra Park played her lookalike daughter Princess Eleanor. 
 
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...Hugh Laurie (born James Hugh Calum Laurie on June 11, 1959), the British actor who became an international star in the American television series "House."
 
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Laurie's roots were in British television comedies, including Rowan Atkinson's historical "Blackadder" series of the 1980s. In "Blackadder Goes Forth" (1989), set during World War I, Laurie appeared as Lieutenant George. Atkinson was Captain Edmund Blackadder, bogged down with George and others in a trench on the Western Front.

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From 1989 to 1995, Laurie teamed with the writer-comedian Stephen Fry for the BBC sketch comedy series "A Bit of Fry & Laurie." Both stars were members of the Footlights Dramatic Club at Cambridge University in the early 1980s. 
 
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From 1990 to 1993, Fry and Laurie starred in "Jeeves and Wooster," a comedy/drama based on the characters created by the British author Sir P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975). Set during the 1920s and 1930s, the series starred Fry as Jeeves, the valet to Bertie Wooster (Laurie).
 
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Dame Emma Thompson and Laurie were among the stars of the British comedy film "Peter's Friends," which was produced and directed by Thompson's then-husband, Sir Kenneth Branagh. The picture revolved around a New Year's Eve reunion of ex-Cambridge students at the British country estate of Peter Morton (Fry). Also starring in the film: Branagh, Imelda Staunton, Alphonsia Emmanuel, Rita Rudner (who co-wrote the film with her producer husband Martin Bergman), Tony Slattery and Phyllida Law (Thompson's mother).  
 
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In Ang Lee's 1995 version of Jane Austen's 1811 novel "Sense and Sensibility," Staunton played Charlotte Palmer, (pictured below with Laurie as Mr. Palmer), who invited the Dashwood sisters -- Elinor (Thompson) and her younger sister Marianne (Kate Winslet) -- to her mansion. Also invited: Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), who became enchanted by Marianne.
 
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In Disney's 1996 live-action version of "101 Dalmatians," Laurie played Jasper and Mark Williams was Horace -- the dognapping henchmen of Cruella de Ville (Glenn Close). Williams later became well known for his appearances as Arthur Weasley, the father of Ron Weasley and his siblings in the "Harry Potter" series.
 
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In the 1997 film "Spice World" -- which starred the British pop sensations The Spice Girls -- Laurie appeared as a Hercule Poirot-like detective in a dream sequence featuring Baby Spice (Emma Bunton). 
 
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Based on the 1945 children's story by E.B. White, "Stuart Little" (1999) starred Geena Davis and Laurie as a married couple who adopted a talking mouse (voiced by Michael J. Fox). Jonathan Lipnicki co-starred as the couple's son George. Nathan Lane provided the voice of the family cat Snowbell. The film, which was co-written by M. Night Shyamalan, was followed by a 2002 sequel and a 2005 all-animated followup that went straight to video.
 
 
Laurie portrayed the great director Vincente Minnelli in the 2001 CBS miniseries "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows." Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis won Primetime Emmy Awards for their performances as the talented child star-turned-troubled entertainer as an adult. Garland was married to Minnelli from 1945 to 1951. 
 
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Laurie put on his best American accent for the FOX television drama series "House," which aired from 2004 to 2012. He received five consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations for his performances as Dr. Gregory House, a blunt physician not exactly known for his bedside manner. As a result of the series, Laurie became an international star and one of the highest-paid actors on television. 
 
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Laurie starred as the high-powered arms dealer Richard Roper in 2016 miniseries "The Night Manager," based on the 1993 espionage novel by John le Carré. The BBC One production, which aired on AMC in the United States, also starred Tom Hiddleston as former soldier recruited by British intelligence to keep tabs on Roper's activities. His handler was played by Olivia Colman. All three actors won Golden Globe Awards for their performances in the limited series.
 
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In the Primetime Emmy Award-winning HBO comedy series "Veep," Laurie made occasional appearances as U.S. Senator Tom James. The character had a personal history with Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.
 
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...Frances O'Connor (born June 12, 1967), the British-born Australian actress who has played numerous noteworthy characters -- period and contemporary -- during the past two decades. 
 
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Based on Jane Austen's 1814 novel, the 1999 drama "Mansfield Park" starred O'Connor as Fanny Price -- who grew up in the household of a wealthy uncle (played by the playwright Harold Pinter). She found herself faced with two candidates for marriage -- a cousin she loved (Jonny Lee Miller) and a flirt (Alessandro Nivola) she didn't. Directed by by Patricia Rozema, who also adapted Austen's novel for the screen, the film also starred James Purefoy, Embeth Davidtz, Lindsay Duncan, Hugh Bonneville, Sophia Myles and Anna Popplewell. 
 

In "Bedazzled," the 2000 remake of Stanley Donen's 1967 comedy, O'Connor played the love interest of Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser). His desire for her prompted him to sell his soul to The Devil (played by Elizabeth Hurley). Directed, co-produced and co-written by Harold Ramis, the film also starred Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein, Miriam Shor and Brian Doyle-Murray.

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In the 2001 sci-fl tale "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" -- Steven Spielberg's film derived from Brian Aldiss' 1969 short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" -- Haley Joel Osment starred as a humanoid robot living with the married couple Monica and Henry Swinton (O'Connor and Sam Robards). After David was involved in a serious incident, Monica set him free in a wooded area to prevent his being designated for destruction. Directed by Spielberg, the picture also starred Jude Law, William Hurt and Brendan Gleeson. 

In the 2002 remake of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," Reese Witherspoon and O'Connor played young women who became involved with friends (played by Colin Firth and Rupert Everett) who created alter egos for themselves. The Irish playwright's 1890s farce previously was filmed in Technicolor in 1952 with a cast headed by Sir Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, Dame Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, Dame Margaret Rutherford and Dame Dorothy Tutin.

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Based on the 1999 sci fi novel by Michael Crichton, the 2003 film "Timeline" focused on a team of young archaeologists who used modern technology to travel back to 14th-century France to retrieve their time-trapped mentor (Sir Billy Connolly). Directed by Richard Donner ("Superman," "Lethal Weapon"), the film also starred O'Connor, Paul Walker, Gerard Butler, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ethan Embry and Michael Sheen. 
 
 
The 2004 HBO production "Iron Jawed Angeles" focused on American suffragettes who went to great lengths to advocate for nationwide voting rights for women. O'Connor portrayed Lucy Burns (1879-1966) and Hilary Swank appeared as Alice Paul (1885-1977), who used civil disobedience as a useful means of pressing their case for women's suffrage. Directed by the German filmmaker Katja von Garnier, the made-for-television film also starred Molly Parker, Laura Fraser, Lois Smith, Vera Farmiga, Brooke Smith, Patrick Dempsey, Julia Ormond, Adilah Barnes, Anjelica Huston, Margo Martindale and Bob Gunton (as President Woodrow Wilson). The project received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Huston).
 
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In 2013, O'Connor co-starred wiith Jeremy Piven in the British television series "Mr. Selfridge," based on the true story of the American retailer Harry Selfridge (1858-1957). His vision led to the establishment of the trend-setting, London-based department store Selfridges in the early 1900s. O'Connor co-starred during Season 1 as the flamboyant businessman's long-suffering wife Rose.  
 
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O'Connor earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the 2014 BBC television miniseries "The Missing," the story of a young British boy who disappeared during a holiday in northern France. O'Connor and James Nesbitt starred as the youngster's distraught parents. The limited series, which was shown in America by the Starz network, earned Golden Globe nods for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film (O'Connor).
 
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...Chris Evans (born June 13, 1981), the actor who has been successful at playing two different Marvel superheroes, including the patriotic World War II icon Captain America. According to boxofficemojo.com, he is 14th on the list of performers appearing in top-grossing films (Samuel L. Jackson is No. 1).
 
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Evans' first co-starring role with the actress Scarlett Johansson was in "The Perfect Score," a 2004 comedy about high school teens attempting to steal the answers for their upcoming SAT exam. Directed by Brian Robbins, the film also starred Erika Christensen, Bryan Greenberg, Darius Miles, Leonardo Nam, Matthew Lillard and Vanessa Angel.
 
 
In what may have been the first motion picture to revolve around a cell phone, the 2004 drama "Cellular" starred Evans as a college student whose only link to a hostage (Kim Basinger) is a phone connection. Directed by David R. Ellis ("Snakes On a Plane"), the thriller also starred Jason Statham, William H. Macy, Noah Emmerich, Jessica Biel and Eric Christian Olsen. 
 
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Released by 20th Century Fox, the 2005 film "The Fantastic Four" was the first feature version about the popular Marvel quartet that acquired super powers during a space mission. The picture starred Jessica Alba as Sue Storm (a.k.a The Invisible Woman), Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards ("Mr. Fantastic"), Evans as Johnny Storm ("The Human Torch") and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm ("The Thing"). The superteam battled Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon) in the first installment, which was directed by Tim Story. 
 
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Evans and his "Fantastic Four" co-stars returned for the 2007 sequel "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," which also was directed by Story. The film featured a computer-generated version of the Surfer -- the cosmic herald (pictured below with The Human Torch) for the planet-eating entity Galactus. Doug Jones, who has appeared as wondrous creatures in Guillermo del Toro's films, performed motion-capture duties for the Surfer. Laurence Fishburne provided the herald's voice.
 
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Evans reunited with Johansson in the 2007 comedy/drama "The Nanny Diaries," based on the 2002 novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. She played Annie Braddock --a college grad who went to work as a nanny for a wealthy Manhattan family (Laura Linney co-starred as the demanding matriarch of the household). Evans played Annie's love interest, whom she called "Harvard_Hottie." The picture was directed by the documentary filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini ("American Splendor"), who also adapted the screenplay. The film also starred Paul Giamatti, Donna Murphy, Alicia Keys and Nicholas Art.
 
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The offbeat 2010 action comedy "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" starred Michael Cera as the title character, a Toronto musician interested in an American delivery girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Before he could date her, he was forced to do battle with her seven ex-boyfriends. No. 2 was the pro skateboarder-turned-actor Lucas Lee (piayed by Evans). Directed by Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead"), the film was based on the comic book series "Scott Pilgrim" by Canada's Bryan Lee O'Malley.  
 
 
In 2011, Evans starred in "Captain America: The First Avenger," the fifth screen installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. Evans played Steve Rogers, a 1940s Brooklyn guy transformed into a physical specimen by a super-soldier serum. He entered the Allied war effort as the charismatic superhero Captain America, only to wind up lost during a perilous mission in the Arctic region. Directed by Joe Johnston ("The Rocketeer," "Jurassic Park III"), the picture also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke and Stanley Tucci.
 
 
In 2012, Captain America -- revived after 70 years in suspended animation -- wound up battling space invaders in 21st-century Manhattan in "The Avengers." This time, he was teamed him with other superheroes: Black Widow (Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.). 
 
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Evans went on to play Captain America in nine other Marvel films, but his swan song may have been the 2019 blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame." In a climactic battle with the cosmic villain Thanos and his minions, Cap picked up Thor's hammer Mjolnir -- indicating he had proved himself worthy of the feat.
 
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...Will Patton (born June 14, 1954), the versatile veteran charactor actor who plays memorable good guys and villains. He's been around acting all his life -- his father Bill Patton was a Lutheran minister, a playwright and an acting/directing instructor.
 
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In the 1987 political thriller "No Way Out," Kevin Costner played a Naval officer who became involved with a key Cabinet official's mistress (Sean Young). Her death, witnessed by Costner's character, set off an intense search for the killer -- and led to one of the great surprise endings of the decade. Patton played the well-connected assistant of the Cabinet official (Gene Hackman). Directed by Roger Donaldson ("Thirteen Days"), the film was based on the 1948 film noir effort "The Big Clock."
 
 
In the blockbuster thriller "Armageddon" (1998), directed by Michael Bay, Patton played a member of a drilling crew that joined a risky space mission to destroy a meteor threatening the Earth. Other members of the team were played by Bruce Willis, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ben Affleck and Owen Wilson. 
 
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Based on a true story, the 2000 high school football drama "Remember the Titans" starred Denzel Washington as Herman Boone -- head coach of a newly integrated team in Virginia in 1971. Patton co-starred as assistant coach Bill Yoast, who handled the defense. Directed by Boaz Yakin, the film also featured Wood Harris, Ryan Gosling, Donald Faison, Ryan Hurst, Ethan Suplee, Hayden Panettiere, Nicole Ari Parker and Kate Bosworth. 
 
 
In the real-life drama "A Mighty Heart" (2007), Patton appeared as an agent of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, His assignment: To assist the pregnant Mariane Pearl (Angelina Jolie) after the 2002 kidnapping of her journalist husband in Pakistan. Her spouse -- Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal -- was later murdered by an Al-Qaeda operative. Directed by the British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom ("Welcome to Sarajevo"), the film was based on Mariane Pearl's  2003 memoir of her ordeal. The production also starred Archie Panjabi, Alyy Khan and Denis O'Hare.
 
A Mighty Heart
 
From 2011 to 2015, Patton and Noah Wyle starred in the Steven Spielberg-produced TNT sci-fi series "Falling Skies." The actors played Massachusetts residents  involved in a continuing battle to repel alien invaders intent on conquering the world. Patton played Dan Weaver, a U.S. Army veteran who served as the commander of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment. Wyle starred as Tom Mason, a former military history professor who served as Weaver's second in command.
 
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In 2016, during the seventh and final season of the CBS drama series "The Good Wife," Patton appeared as the brilliant attorney Mike Tascioni (pictured below with Alan Cumming as politico Eli Gold). Patton's character also happened to be the estranged husband of Elsbeth Tascioni -- the equally brilliant, but unorthodox attorney played by Primetime Emmy Award-winner Carrie Preston. Mike was brought in to help former presidential candidate Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) during an investigation by  a particularly aggressive U.S. attorney.
 
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In the 2018 screen reboot of John Carpenter's 'Halloween" horror series, Patton played Frank Hawkins -- a deputy sheriff who teamed with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) to track down the escaped serial killer Michael Myers. Directed by David Gordon Green ("Pineapple Expess"), the film was designed as if it was the only sequel to Carpenter's original "Halloween" (1978). 
 
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...Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson on June 15, 1969), the rap star-turned-actor and filmmaker. He says his rap handle was derived from an argument he once had with his older brother, who threatened to "slam me in the freezer one day, and turn me into an ice cube." 
 
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A native of Compton, California, Ice Cube rose to prominence as a founding member of the sometimes controversial rap group N.W.A., which also featured DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and Eazy-E. The recording artists were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
 
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Ice Cube's screen debut was in John Singleton's 1991 drama "Boyz n the Hood," the story of teenagers growing up in a tough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. The film also was a breakthrough film for Cuba Gooding, Jr. (pictured below with the rap star). Also in the cast: Morris Chestnut (in his screen debut), Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long and Regina King. The film earned Singleton Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. At the age of 24, he became the first African-American director and the youngest person to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar.
 
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Ice Cube co-wrote and starred in the 1995 comedy "Friday," in which his South Central L.A. character Craig Jones delivered a line that has become a solid pop culture reference. When Craig and his friend Smokey (Chris Tucker) were approached by Felisha (Angela Means) -- an acquaintance who wanted to borrow a car -- Craig promptly dismissed her with two words: "Bye, Felisha." Directed by F. Gary Gray ("The Fate of the Furious"), the film also starred King, Long, Tiny Lister Jr., John Witherspoon, Anna Maria Horsford, Paula Jai Parker and Bernie Mac. The comedy's cult following generated the sequels "Next Friday" (2000) and "Friday After Next" (2002). A fourth "Friday" film is expected to be released in 2020.
 
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The 1997 action film "Dangerous Ground" starred Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley as unlikely allies in the South Africa of the early 1980s. He played an activist South African who had been living in the United States for 14 years. When he returned for his father's funeral, he began a search for his missing younger brother. He soon teamed up with his brother's Johannesburg neighbor (Hurley), who revealed the brother was in debt to a local drug lord (Ving Rhames). The drama was directed, co-produced and co-written by the South African filmmaker Darrell Roodt (Sarafina!).  
 
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Also in 1997, the hit thriller "Anaconda" starred Ice Cube as one of the members of an expedition in search of a legendary lost Amazon tribe. They found themselves menaced by the title serpent. Directed by Luis Llosa, the film also starred Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Kari Wuhrer and Danny Trejo.
 
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The 1999 caper film "Three Kings" starred George Clooney, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and sometime director Spike Jonze as American soldiers who discovered stolen Kuwaiti gold during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Based on a story by John Ridley, the film was written and directed by David O. Russell. 
 
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In 2005, Ice Cube starred in the comedy "Are We There Yet?" -- the story of a bachelor who tried to get along with two children (Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden) belonging to a divorcée (Long) he fancied. The film's success led to a 2007 sequel titled "Are We Done Yet?" and the 2010 TBS comedy series "Are We There Yet?"
 
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The 2012 big screen version of TV's "21 Jump Street" starred Ice Cube as Captain Dickson, a hard-nosed police veteran who recruited cops -- including those played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum -- to go undercover as high school students. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("The Lego Movie"), the comedy also starred Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Chris Parnell, Ellie Kemper and Nick Offerman. The film earned $201.6 million, paving the way for a 2014 sequel, "22 Jump Street." It earned $331.3 million worldwide.

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The 2014 comedy "Ride Along" starred Ice Cube as a police officer who showed the ropes to his prospective brother-in-law (Kevin Hart), a high school security guard. Directed by Tim Story, the film also starred John Leguizamo, Bryan Callen, Tika Sumpter and Fishburne. The film earned $153 million and spawned a successful 2016 Ice Cube-Hart sequel, "Ride Along 2." 

 
In 2016, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre were co-producers of the biopic "Straight Outta Compton," which focused on the rise to fame of N.W.A. during the late 1980s. Directed by Gray, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay (Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus). Ice Cube was portrayed in the production by his son, O'Shea Jackson, Jr. (pictured below with the original gangsta).
 
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...Laurie Metcalf (born June 16, 1955), the veteran actress who has become a perennial awards-season threat for her roles in films and on Broadway and television. Viewers of the TV series "Rosanne" and "The Conners" are familiar with Metcalf's long-running performances as Jackie Harris. 

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She has been nominated once for an Academy Award:

  • Marion McPherson in "Lady Bird" (2017). Best Supporting Actress.

Metcalf, whose roots were in Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company (founded in 1974 by Terry Kinney, Gary Sinise and her first husband Jeff Perry), was briefly a featured player on "Saturday Night Live." On the April 11, 1981 episode, she was in a taped segment for Weekend Update. It was her only appearance on the show.

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Susan Seidelman's 1985 mistaken-identity tale "Desperately Seeking Susan" is best remembered for Madonna's screen debut as the title character. In one of her first film roles, Metcalf played the sister-in-law of an amnesiac played by Rosanna Arquette. Mark Blum played Metcalf's sibling, who was married to Arquette's character. Directed by Seidelman, the film also starred Aidan Quinn, Robert Joy, Anna Levine, Will Patton, Peter Maloney, Steven Wright and John Turturro. 

In John Hughes' 1989 comedy "Uncle Buck," John Candy starred as the title character -- an unlikely candidate to babysit his nieces (Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffmann) and his nephew (Macaulay Culkin) during an emergency in the Chicago suburbs. Metcalf played the kids' next-door neighbor, whose memorable name was Marcie Dahlgren-Frost. As she explained it: "Dahlgren is my maiden name, Frost is my married name. I'm single again, but I never bothered to remove the Frost. And I get compliments on the hyphen."

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Metcalf won three consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards in the 1990s for her supporting performances as Jackie Harris on the ABC sitcom "Rosanne." Jackie was the younger sister of the title character played by Rosanne Barr. When the series was rebooted in the spring of 2018, Metcalf rejoined the cast -- and received another Emmy nomination. 

The 1997 horror sequel "Scream 2" starred Metcalf as Debbie Loomis, mother of a Ghostface killer (played by Skeet Ulrich) from the 1996 original film. Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, the second installment also starred David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O'Connell, Jada Pinkett and Liev Schreiber.  

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During the 12-season run of the CBS hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory" (2007-2019), Metcalf made occasional appearances as Mary Cooper -- the Bible-quoting mother of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (played by series star Jim Parsons, pictured below right). Metcalf's daughter Zoe Perry (pictured below left with young actor Iain Armitage) plays Mary Cooper on the CBS sitcom "Sheldon," which focuses on Parsons' character when he was a boy.

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In June 2017, Metcalf won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Nora Helmer in the drama "A Doll's House, Part 2." The production was playwright Lucas Hnath's continuation of the 1879 play by Norway's Henrik Ibsen.

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Saoirse Ronan and Metcalf earned Academy Award nominations for their performances in "Lady Bird," the 2017 comedy/drama about a rebellious Catholic high school student (Ronan) in Sacramento, California. Metcalf co-starred as the teen's exasperated mother. The film, which marked the solo directorial debut of actress Greta Gerwig, received Oscar nods for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Metcalf) and Best Original Screenplay (Gerwig). 

During the 2017-2018 Broadway season, Alison Pill, Glenda Jackson and Metcalf starred in a revival of Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Three Tall Women." Jackson won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play. Metcalf won for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

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Metcalf provided the voice for Andy Davis' mother in the first three editions of the "Toy Story" movie series. She reprises the character in "Toy Story 4," which opens Friday at theaters nationwide.  

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...Jodie Whittaker (born June 17, 1982), the British actress who became an international star last year as The Thirteenth Doctor on the long-running BBC television series "Doctor Who." She is the first woman to play the venerable sci-fi character. 

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Whittaker's breakthrough film role was in the 2006 comedy/drama "Venus," in which she played Jessie, a teen girl who captured the fancy of an aging actor (Peter O'Toole). Directed by Roger Michell ("Notting Hill," "Hyde Park on Hudson"), the film provided O'Toole with his eighth and final Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Whittaker received a British Independent Film Award nod for Most Promising Newcomer and a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.

Whittaker played the ditzy receptionist Beverly at an all-female boarding school in the 2007 British comedy "St. Trinian's" -- a reboot of the movie series that began in 1954 with "The Belles of St. Trinian's." The original film -- based on a comic strip series by Ronald Searle -- starred Alastair Sim in a dual role. Whittaker returned for the 2009 sequel, "St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold."

Slide 4 of 11: St. Trinian's (2007)

The 2009 short film "Wish 183" featured Whittaker as a woman with a chance to grant a terminally ill teenager (Sam Holland) his fondest wish. Directed by Ian Barnes and co-produced by Barnes and Samantha Waite, the picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short Film.

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In the 2011 British sci-fi comedy/drama "Attack the Block," Whittaker played a woman mugged by a South London street gang on Guy Fawkes Night. When an alien invasion began, she found herself banding together with her teen assailants (including characters played by John Boyega and Leeon Jones, pictured below). The film marked the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, who co-wrote the 2015 Marvel Cinematic Universe installment "Ant-Man."

Slide 7 of 11: Attack The Block - 2011; John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker

In 2011, Toby Kebbell and Whittaker starred in the Season 1 "Black Mirror" episode "The Entire History of You," the story of a married couple undone by a chip implant that recorded one's daily actions and made them available for playback on a monitor. The effort, written by Jesse Armstrong, was one of the rare "Black Mirror" tales not created or co-created by series showrunner Charlie Brooker. 

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In the 2012 British-Irish film "Good Vibrations," Whittaker co-starred with Richard Dormer in the true story of Terri Hooley, the record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast’s punk-rock scene. Whittaker portrayed Hooley's wife, Ruth. The film was directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn and written by Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson.

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Whittaker co-starred with Academy Award winner Olivia Colman and former "Doctor Who" actor David Tennant in the British teleivision series "Broadchurch," which ran on ITV from 2013 to 2017. Colman and Tennant played Dorset police detectives investigating the murder of the 11-year-old son of Beth Latimer (Whittaker). In 2014, Tennant starred in "Gracepoint," an American version of "Broadchurch" set in California.

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In the short-lived 2014 ABC series "The Assets," Whittaker starred as a CIA counter-intelligence officer who attempted to prevent a mole from outing undercover agents gathering intelligence on the Soviet Union. The eight-part drama was based on the real-life Aldrich Ames spy case of the 1980s. 

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On Christmas Day, 2017, the "Doctor Who" torch was passed from The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to The Thirteenth Doctor (Whittaker). The show's tradition since the 1960s has been for a new incarnation of the space traveler to arrive through the process of regeneration.

In Whittaker's first season on "Doctor Who," The Thirteenth Doctor's traveling companions were played by Graham O'Brien, Yasmin Khan and Ryan Sinclair. Her second season will begin in 2020. 

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...Sir Paul McCartney (born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942), the former Beatles great who's still touring the world with his music -- old and new.
 
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Time cover for May 31, 1976
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He has been nominated for three Academy Awards (Oscar win in bold):  
  • 1970 -- Best Original Song Score for "Let It Be" (shared with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr).
  • 1973 -- Best Original Song ("Live and Let Die" from "Live and Let Die," shared with Linda McCartney).
  • 2001-- Best Original Song ("Vanilla Sky" from "Vanilla Sky").

On January 26, 1969, The Beatles performed an impromptu live concert on the roof of their Apple Corps. headquarters in London. No one could have guessed that it would be the final performance of The Fab Four. The rooftop concert was filmed for the 1970 documentary "Let It Be."

On April 17, 1970 -- seven days after the official announcement of the breakup of The Beatles -- a solo album titled "McCartney" was released. It dropped three weeks before "Let It Be" -- the final Beatles LP -- hit the market.

McCartney and his wife Linda wrote the theme song for the 1973 James Bond film "Live and Let Die," the first 007 thriller to feature Roger Moore as the British superspy. The tune received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. It remains a favorite selection during McCartney's concerts and is highlighted by key explosions on the soundstages.

On the April 24, 1976 edition of  "Saturday Night Live," executive producer Lorne Michaels went on the air and offered The Beatles a certified check for $3,000 to perform on the late-night sketch comedy show. "All you have to do is sing three Beatles songs," Michaels said. " 'She Loves You,' yeah, yeah, yeah -- that's $1,000 right there. You know the words. It'll be easy. Like I said, this is made out to 'The Beatles.' You divide it anyway you want. If you want to give Ringo less, that's up to you. I'd rather not get involved." What Michaels didn't know is that McCartney and Lennon were 22 blocks away, watching the show at John's New York City apartment. As McCartney remembered it: "John said, 'We should go down, just you and me. There’s only two of us so we’ll take half the money.' And for a second … But it would have been work, and we were having a night off, so we elected not to go. It was a nice idea – we nearly did it."

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In May and June of 1976, McCartney and his new band Wings (which featured his wife Linda on keyboards and backup vocals) toured the United States. The mega-successful "Wings Over America" concerts took place in 21 cities. The noteworthy tour, which earned McCartney the cover of Time magazine, marked his first live performances in the country since The Beatles' August 29, 1966 concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. The 1980 concert film "Rockshow" featured footage from performances in New York, Seattle and two Los Angeles stops.

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McCartney was a frequent presence in music videos during the early years of MTV and other outlets. His 1983 promotional effort for the song "Pipes of Peace" re-created the 1914 Christmas truce between British and German troops on the Western front during World War I. 

On January 19, 1994 -- a little more than 12 years after Lennon's murder -- McCartney inducted his former bandmate into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act. The Beatles received the honor as a group in 1988. McCartney was inducted for his solo work in 1999. 

Paul McCartney's speech at John Lennon's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 19 January 1994

In November 1995, ABC presented a three-episode documentary special titled "The Beatles Anthology" -- which featured commentaries by the three surviving group members and Lennon's archived observations. The special also featured two new songs, "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love" -- which were Lennon recordings embellished by Messrs. McCartney, Harrison and Starr.

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, McCartney was on a London-bound airplane waiting to take off from New York's JFK Airport. His plane never got off the ground as a result of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. The tragedy inspired him to write the song "Freedom," which he performed almost four months later before the kickoff of Super Bowl XXXVI at New Orleans' Louisiana Superdome.

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McCartney's theme song for the 2001 drama "Vanilla Sky" earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. He performed it live at the 74th Oscars ceremony held on March 24, 2002.

Although The Beatles never played in Moscow during the Cold War era, McCartney and his band were headliners in Red Square in May 2003. Among the 20,000 people in attendance was Russian President Vladimir Putin. McCartney performed "Back in the USSR" -- his once-controversial 1968 song from The White Album -- twice. 

Look for the 2018 CBS special "Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool" to be a strong Primetime Emmy Award contender in the Best Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) category. Corden and McCartney embarked on a magical mystery tour of the former Beatle's hometown while performing many of Sir Paul's hits along the way. 

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...Kathleen Turner (born Mary Kathleen Turner on June 19, 1954), the 1980s star whose career was threatened in the 1990s by a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis. The debilitating illness is now in remission.

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She has been nominated once for an Academy Award:
  • Peggy Sue Bodell in "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986). Best Actress
Turner's film debut was in Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 neo-noir "Body Heat," which also featured early screen appearances by William Hurt and Mickey Rourke. In the picture -- screenwriter Kasdan's steamy and stylish debut as a director -- seductress Matty Walker (Turner) persuaded attorney Ned Racine (Hurt) to help her get rid of her older husband (Richard Crenna). The film was set in a small Florida town.
 

Turner displayed a flair for comedy opposite Steve Martin in Carl Reiner's 1983 film "The Man With Two Brains." Martin starred as the title character -- Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr -- who married a sexy golddigger (Turner) after hitting her with his car and saving her life through cranial screw-top zip-lock brain surgery. The doctor soon became enthralled by the disembodied brain of Anne Uumellmahaye (voiced by Sissy Spacek).

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Michael Douglas, Danny De Vito and Turner co-starred for the first time in "Romancing the Stone," a 1984 adventure comedy directed by Robert Zemeckis. She played Joan Wilder, a romance novelist who found love during a search for treasure in Colombia. Douglas appeared as the mercenary Jack T. Colton, who won her heart. De Vito was a swindler named Ralph, who complicated their lives. The film grossed more than $86 million worldwide, making it one of the year's most successful releases. For her efforts, Turner won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.      

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Also in 1984, Turner starred in Ken Russell's "Crimes of Passion," which she considers one of her best films. She played a fashion designer named Joanna Crane, who moonlighted as the provocative prostitute China Blue. She found herself stalked by two men -- a lonely husband (John Laughlin) and an unbalanced minister (Anthony Perkins).

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Based on Richard Condon's 1982 novel, John Huston's 1985 dramedy "Prizzi's Honor" starred Jack Nicholson and Turner as hired killers who married -- and then wound up with contracts to eliminate each other. The film received eight Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Nicholson), Best Supporting Actor (William Hickey), Best Supporting Actress (Angelica Huston), Best Adapted Screenplay (Condon and Janet Roach), Best Costume Design (Donfeld) and Best Film Editing (Rudi Fehr and
Kaja Fehr). Angelica Huston won in her category, giving her father John the distinction of having directed both his daughter and his father (Walter Huston) to Academy Award wins. 

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Douglas, Turner and De Vito co-starred in "The Jewel of the Nile" -- the 1985 sequel to "Romancing the Stone." In the second installment of Jack and Joan's adventures, they wound up in an African desert searching for the titular jewel.

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Turner earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in Francis Ford Coppola's 1986 fantasy "Peggy Sue Got Married. She played an unhappily married woman in the 1980s who somehow got a chance to relive her high school days. In addition, she found herself becoming charmed all over again by her future husband (Nicolas Cage). The comedy/drama also starred Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Joan Allen, Jim Carrey, Sofia Coppola and Helen Hunt. 

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Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve and Turner starred in "Switching Channels," a 1988 version of "The Front Page"/"His Girl Friday" set at a television station. Reynolds and Turner clashed during the filming of the movie. In 2018, she told a reporter for Vulture.com: "Working with Burt Reynolds was terrible. The first day Burt came in, he made me cry. He said something about not taking second place to a woman. His behavior was shocking. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t someone’s equal. I left the room sobbing. I called my husband and said, 'I don’t know what to do.' He said, 'You just do the job.' It got to be very hostile because the crew began taking sides. But as for the performance, I was able to put the negativity aside. I’m not convinced Burt was."

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Turner provided the speaking voice for femme fatale Jessica Rabbit in Zemeckis' 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." The ridiculously curvy toon interacted with private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) and his girlfriend Dolores (Joanna Cassidy) in the comedy that combined live-action actors with animated characters.

Turner reunited with her "Body Heat" co-star Hurt in "The Accidental Tourist," directed, co-written and co-produced by Kasdan and based on the 1985 novel by Anne Tyler. They played a Baltimore couple whose marriage collapsed after the shooting death of their son. Hurt's character, a writer of travel guides, eventually became involved with a dog trainer and single mother (Geena Davis). For her performance, Davis won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.

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The third Turner-Douglas-De Vito teamup was the 1989 dark comedy about an unhappy marriage, "The War of the Roses." Directed by De Vito, who also appeared as the narrator and divorce attorney Gavin D'Amato, the film was based on the novel by Warren Adler.

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...the veteran actor John Goodman (born June 20, 1952), a prominent performer who has never received an Academy Award nomination. He is one of 10 actors who have appeared in back-to-back Best Picture winners. image.gif

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During the early 1980s, the Missouri product paid bills through numerous television commercials, including this one for Foot Locker.

Goodman began a long and fruitful association with the filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen in the 1987 comedy/drama "Raising Arizona." He and William Forsythe played the Snoats Brothers, prisoners who made a daring escape and then hooked up with their former cellmate (played by Nicolas Cage). The film also starred Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson and Frances McDormand. 

From 1988 to 1997, Roseanne Barr and Goodman starred as the blue-collar Conners of Lanford, Illinois in the ABC hit sitcom "Roseanne." Goodman received seven Primetime Emmy nominations for his performance as family patriarch Dan Conner.

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In the Coen Brothers' 1991 tale "Barton Fink," John Turturro played the title character, a playwright-turned Hollywood screenwriter. Goodman co-starred as Charlie Meadows, an insurance salesman who lived in the same hotel and ended up having a devil of a time during his stay there. At the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, the picture won the Palme d'Or (or Golden Palm), the Best Director award and Best Actor honors for Turturro. 

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On September 13, 1993, Goodman was the first guest on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," the talk show that replaced David Letterman's program on the NBC schedule. To mark the occasion, the actor was presented a gold medal by a lookalike for then-New York Mayor David Dinkins. "Thanks for asking," the actor said. "I wouldn't have been my first choice." O'Brien's second guest: the actress Drew Barrymore.

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In "Blues Brothers 2000," John Landis' comedy sequel with music, Goodman played Mighty Mack McTeer -- a replacement for the late John Belushi's character Jake Blues. Dan Aykroyd returned as Elwood Blues, who reunitesdThe Show Band for another heavenly mission. Also joining them: an Illinois State Police commander (Joe Morton) and a talented kid named Buster (J. Evan Bonifant). Among the performers making appearances in the film: Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Steve Winwood, Isaac Hayes and Erykah Badu.

Goodman played Walter Sobchak, the opinionated, pistol-packing best friend of Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) in the Coen Brothers' 1998 comedy/drama "The Big Lebowski." The character is said to have been based on John Milius, the colorful director, producer screenwriter and script doctor.

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During a memorable 2003 story arc in NBC's drama series "The West Wing," Goodman guest starred as Glenallen Walken -- the Republican Speaker of the House who became acting president (in the absence of a vice president) under the 25th Amendment. President Josiah Barlett, the Democratic POTUS played by series star Martin Sheen, was forced to step aside when his daughter Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) was kidnapped by terrorists. 

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Goodman won a Primetime Emmy for his guest performances in a 2007 story arc of NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Created by Aaron Sorkin of "The West Wing," the short-lived series was about a "Saturday Night Live"-like late-night television show based in Los Angeles. In the two-part episode "Nevada Day," Goodman played a Silver State judge with the power to free one of the show's stars (Nate Corddry) from jail in time for the telecast. But the judge hated the program, complicating matters.

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In the 2011 hit comedy "The Artist," Goodman appeared as the silent era movie mogul Al Zimmer. Directed by France's Michel Hazanavicius, the film received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) and Best Original Score (Ludovic Bource). 

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"Argo" (2012) starred Alan Arkin as a movie producer collaborating with a CIA specialist (Ben Affleck) on a clever scheme to retrieve six Americans hidden in Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. They teamed with makeup artist John Chambers (Goodman) to persuade Iranian authorities that Canadian filmmakers were interested in shooting a picture in the Middle Eastern country. Directed by Affleck -- and produced by George Clooney and his partner Grant Heslov -- the drama won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Chris Terrio) and Best Film Editing (William Goldenberg). 
 
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Goodman received acclaim for his supporting performance in the 2016 thriller "10 Cloverfield Lane." He appeared as the movie's villain, Howard Stambler, who had a penchant for abducting young women and keeping them in his underground bunker. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, the film also starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr. 

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When ABC rebooted "Rosanne" as a television series in 2018, Goodman returned as Dan Conner -- even though the character was said to have died in the 1997 final episode. He is considered a likely Primetime Emmy nominee for his performances in "The Conners" -- the sitcom without Roseanne, whose character was killed off. 

 
Although he hasn't been a "Saturday Night Live" guest host since 2001, Goodman is third on the list for most appearances with 12 (behind Alec Baldwin's 17 and Steve Martin's 15). As a result, he is a member of the Five-Timers Club. 
 
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...the Primetime Emmy Award-winning actress Mariette Hartley (born Mary Loretta Hartley on June 21, 1940), who's still working at her craft almost 60 years after she began her career.

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The influential film critic Pauline Kael called Sam Peckinpah's 1962 saga "Ride the High Country" -- which starred Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea -- "probably the most simple and traditional and graceful of all modern Westerns." It was Scott's last film and Hartley's first. Scott and McCrea teamed up for the only time, playing aging Westerners hired to transport a shipment of gold from a mining camp to a California town. Hartley (pictured below with Scott, McCrea and Ron Starr) played a young woman who accompanied them in search of her fiancé (James Drury) in the mining camp.
 
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In "The Long Morrow," a Season 5 episode of the CBS anthology series "The Twilight Zone," Hartley played a space scientist who fell for an astronaut (Robert Lansing). Unfortunately, his next mission was a 40-year space trip during which he would be placed in suspended animation. The poignant tale, which was written by The "Twilight Zone" creator and host Rod Serling, originally aired on January 10, 1964.
 
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In Sir Alfred Hitchcock's 1964 psychological thriller "Marnie," Hartley played an employee at the Philadelphia publishing firm run by Mark Rutland (Sir Sean Connery). The company was targeted by the title character, Margaret "Marnie" Edgar ('Tippi' Hedren) -- a compulsive thief pursued by authorities for previous heists. Her specialty was inside jobs, ripping off employers, and then changing her identity and moving on. Marnie attracted the attention of Rutland while she did clerical work for his company. He eventually married her and discovered she was a bundle of contradictions. Based on the 1961 novel by Winston Graham, the drama was adapted for the screen by Jay Presson Allen ("Wives and Lovers," "Funny Lady"). 
 
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Hartley guest starred in "All Our Yesterdays,' a Season 3 episode of NBC's "Star Trek" that aired on March 14, 1969. It was the penultimate episode of the show's final season. Hartley played Zarabeth, a political prisoner marooned in a prehistoric ice age on a planet threatened by an imminent supernova. When Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) inadvertently showed up in her time, she tried to persuade Spock to stay with her. 
 
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In the fictional 1969 space thriller "Marooned," Lee Grant, Nancy Kovack and Hartley played the respective wives of three American astronauts (Richard Crenna, James Franciscus and Gene Hackman) helplessly adrift in orbit. Gregory Peck and David Janssen were among the NASA officials working against time to retrieve them. The film was directed by John Sturges ("Bad Day at Black Rock," "The Magnificent Seven," "The Great Escape") and based on a novel by Martin Caidin -- creator of the source material for TV's "The Six Million Dollar Man." The film was released only months before the real-life Apollo 13 crisis, which became the basis of Ron Howard's 1995 Oscar-nominated film.
 
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Hartley won a 1978-1978 Primetime Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for a guest performance in the CBS drama series "The Incredible Hulk." In the Season 2 episode "Married," she played Dr. Carolyn Fields, a brilliant psychiatrist and hypnotherapist who tried to help Dr. David Banner (Bill Bixby) suppress his alter ego, The Hulk (played by Lou Ferrigno). "Married" aired as a special two-hour episode on September 22, 1978.
 
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During the late 1970s and early 1980s, James Garner and Hartley teamed for a series of popular television commercials for Polaroid cameras. The witty characters played by the actors were so persuasive, many viewers mistakenly believed that Garner and Hartley were married in real life. "We sold a lot of cameras," Garner once observed.
 
 
It was inevitable that Hartley would guest star on an episode of Garner's Primetime Emmy Award-winning teleivision series "The Rockford Files." In the Season 6 opener titled "Paradise Cove," Hartley played a court-appointed receiver tasked with conducting an inventory of the possessions of Jim Rockford (Garner). Naturally, she became attracted to him. The episode, which was written, produced and directed by series co-creator Stephen J. Cannell, originally aired on September 28, 1979. Hartley again was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. 
 
James Garner and Mariette Hartley in The Rockford Files (1974)
 
In 1982, Bixby and Hartley reunited for the CBS sitcom "Goodnight, Beantown" -- the story of the professional and personal relationship between co-anchors at a fictional Boston, Massachusetts television station. The series ran from April 1983 to January 1984.
 
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In January 1987, Hartley became a real-life television presence as the co-host of CBS' The Morning Program, which also featured the actor-comedian Bob Saget in a recurring role. The show lasted only six months.
 
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In the 1990s, Hartley was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while coping with suicidal depression. In her autobiography "Breaking the Silence" -- co-written with Anne Commire -- she recounted her family's history with suicide. Her father took his life in 1963. Her mother attempted suicide sometime later. Hartley became a founder of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and serves as its national spokesperson. 

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...actress Meryl Streep (born Mary Louise Streep on June 22, 1949), the all-time record holder for most Academy Award nominations. She also has distinguished herself in her rare television appearances. 
 
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She has been nominated for a record 21 Academy Awards for acting. Her recognized roles and movies are as follows (Oscar wins in bold): 
  • Linda in "The Deer Hunter" (1978). Best Supporting Actress.
  • Joanna Kramer in "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979). Best Supporting Actress.
  • Sarah/Anna in "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1981). Best Actress.
  • Sophie Zawistowski in "Sophie's Choice" (1982). Best Actress.
  • Karen Silkwood in "Silkwood" (1983). Best Actress.
  • Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen in "Out of Africa" (1985). Best Actress.
  • Helen Archer in "Ironweed" (1987). Best Actress.
  • Lindy Chamberlain in "A Cry in the Dark" (1988). Best Actress.
  • Suzanne Vale in "Postcards from the Edge" (1990). Best Actress.
  • Francesca Johnson in "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995). Best Actress.
  • Kate Gulden in "One True Thing" (1998). Best Actress.
  • Roberta Guaspari in "Music of the Heart" (1999). Best Actress.
  • Susan Orlean in "Adaptation" (2002). Best Supporting Actress.
  • Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006). Best Actress.
  • Sister Aloysius Beauvier in "Doubt" (2008). Best Actress.
  • Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" (2009). Best Actress.
  • Baroness Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" (2011). Best Actress.
  • Violet Weston in "August: Osage County" (2013). Best Actress.
  • The Witch in "Into the Woods" (2014). Best Supporting Actress.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins in "Florence Foster Jenkins" (2016). Best Actress.
  • Katharine Graham in "The Post" (2017). Best Actress
 
Streep earned a Primetime Emmy Award for one of her first television performances. In the fictional 1978 NBC miniseries "Holocaust," she played Inga Helms-Weiss, a Christian woman married to a Jewish artist (James Woods) during the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. The four-part, 9 1/2-hour production received six Emmys, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series (Streep).
 
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Streep made a celebrity cameo on "The Simpsons" in the 1994 episode "Bart's Girlfriend." She provided the voice of Reverend Lovejoy's seemingly sweet daughter Jessica Lovejoy, who enchanted Springfield's notorious bad boy. 
 
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In the 2003 HBO miniseries "Angels in America" -- based on Tony Kushner's 1993 award-winning stage play about AIDs -- Streep appeared as four different characters. She played the mother of a closeted gay man, an angel, a rabbi and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (pictured below with Al Pacino as Roy Cohn). Chances are that many viewers didn't realize that she was the rabbi.

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At the 56th Primetime Emmy Awards held on September 19, 2004, "Angels in America" -- directed by Mike Nichols -- won 11 statuettes, including Outstanding Miniseries. Streep received the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. She was very pleased by her Emmy win. As she said in her acceptance speech: "There are some days when I myself think I’m overrated -- but not today."

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She received another Emmy nomination for her performance in the 1997 ABC TV-movie "...First Do No Harm." Directed by Jim Abrahams, the drama starred Streep as the mother of a young boy (Seth Adkins) diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy. For her efforts, she received an Emmy nod as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special. 

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At the 74th annual Golden Globes, held on January 8, 2017, Streep became the 13th woman to be presented the annual Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The DeMille Award is presented to an honoree for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Streep's acceptance speech, made less than two weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration as president, made headlines worldwide.

Streep currently can be seen in Season 2 of the HBO drama series "Big Little Lies," which stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz and Laura Dern. Streep (pictured below with Kidman) co-stars as the mother of Alexander Skarsgård's Season 1 character. Based on the 2014 novel by the Australian writer Liane Moriarty, "Big Little Lies" -- co-produced by  Witherspoon and Kidman -- is a comedy/drama about the mothers of elementary school children in Monterey, California. Season 1, written by David E. Kelley, won eight Primetime Emmys in 16 nominations -- including the award for Outstanding Limited Series.

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...Selma Blair (born Selma Blair Beitner on June 23, 1972), the durable actress whose career has been threatened by a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. 
 
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Blair made a brief appearance in the 1998 teen comedy "Can't Hardly Wait" as a girl hit on at a party by the newly single Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli). Directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, the film featured a cast of other rising young stars. Among them: Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauren Ambrose, Seth Green, Jason Segal, Clea Duvall, Jaime Pressly, Freddy Rodriguez and Donald Faison.
 
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Blair was the runnerup for the role of Joey Potter in The WB Network's series "Dawson Creek" (the role went to Katie Holmes, who became a star). In January 1999, Blair (pictured below with co-star Michael Rosenbaum) eventually wound up on The WB as the title character in "Zoe Bean" -- a teen-oriented sitcom set in New York City. The series was retitled "Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane" during Season 1. By the second season, it was known simply as "Zoe..." The show ended in June 2000. 
 
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Set in New York City at an elite prep school, the 1999 hit film "Cruel Intentions" was derived from the 18-century French novel "Les Liaisons dangereuses" Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Blair played Cecille Caldwell, an inexperienced teen manipulated by Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her stepbrother Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe). Directed by Roger Kumble ("The Sweetest Thing"), the drama also starred Reese Witherspoon, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas. Swoosie Kurtz and Christine Baranski.
 
 
In a 2000 episode of the syndicated action series "Xena: Warrior Princess," Blair (pictured below with Claudia Black) played Cyane -- a contemporary Los Angeles teen magically transported back to the Stone Age. Her bravery and resourcefulness resulted in her fulfilling a Siberian tribe's prophecy of the Atma, a warrior who would lead them to greatness. After Cyane referred to the tribe as Amazons, the group's leader Karina (Black) adopted the name Amazon Nation. The scenes featuring Blair were derived from a 1997 failed pilot titled "Amazon High." 
 
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Todd Solondz's 2001 film "Storytelling" was a comedy/drama that featured two unrelated segments. Blair appeared in "Fiction," which featured her as an emotionally needy 1980s college student who had an affair with her creative writing professor (Robert Wisdom).

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Blair and Witherspoon were reunited in the 2001 hit comedy "Legally Blonde." Witherspoon starred as Elle Woods -- a fashion-conscious college sorority president who enrolled at Harvard Law School after a breakup with her boyfriend. Blair played the snobbish law student Vivian Kensington, who became engaged to Woods' ex. The film, based on the novel by Amanda Brown, earned $141.7 million worldwide. Its success prompted a 2003 sequel with Witherspoon ("Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde") and a 2007 Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical (starring Laura Bell Bundy).

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In Guillermo del Toro's 2004 screen version of Mike Mignola's comic book series "Hellboy," Blair played Liz Sherman -- an agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD)  She had possessed pyrokinetic powers since she was 11 years old. Liz was the love interest of Hellboy (played by Ron Perlman), a demon brought to Earth as a child during World War II and reared by the U.S. government. He became a trained paranormal investigator.

Blair reprised the role of Liz in Del Toro's 2008 sequel "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," the story of the BPRD's confrontations with an indestructible mechanical war machine. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup (Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz). 

Selma Blair in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

After Charlie Sheen's controversial departure from the CBS hit series "Two and a Half Men," he headlined the FX sitcom "Anger Management." From 2012 to 2013, Blair co-starred as Dr. Kate Wales, the ex-therapist and sometime girlfriend of Sheen's character. The actress departed the series after 43 episodes because of a dispute with Sheen.

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Blair portrayed Kris Jenner -- mother of the celebrity Kardashian-Jenner brood -- in the 2016 FX miniseries "The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story." Jenner was a friend of of Simpson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and his wife Nicole Brown Simpson (Kelly Lynn Dowdle), who was murdered in June 1994. When Simpson was charged with the slayings of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman, Jenner's ex-husband Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) served as a member of the former football star's defense team. The miniseries won nine Primetime Emmy awards, including Outstanding Limited Series.

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In August 2018, Blair was filming the romantic drama "After" when she was diagnosed with the degenerative disease multiple sclerosis. She completed the movie, in which she appeared as the mother of a teen girl (played by Josephine Langford, pictured below with Blair). Directed by Jenny Gage, the film was based on the 2014 first installment of Anna Todd's series of books for young adults. Released in April 2019, "After" has earned $68 million worldwide. It was filmed on a budget of $14 million.

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...Peter Weller (born June 24, 1947), the veteran actor turned director and art historian. During the past decade, he has been behind the camera for numerous television series.
 
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Weller's first film was the 1979 prequel "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days,' which starred Tom Berenger and William Katt as younger versions of the respective outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film -- released 10 years after the classic Paul Newman-Robert Redford Western  -- was directed by Richard Lester ("The Three Musketeers," "The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge"). Weller portrayed the outlaws' nemesis Joe Le Fors ((1865–1940), the dogged lawman who wore a straw boater. 
 
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In Sidney Lumet's 1980 comedy "Just Tell Me What You Want," Weller played a young New York playwright who became involved with a powerful man's mistress (Ali MacGraw). The film also starred Alan King, Keenan Wynn, Tony Roberts, Dina Merrill and Myrna Loy (in her final film role). Weller and MacGraw became a couple as a result of working together on the film, and he credits her with the development of his interest in art history. He earned a Ph.D studying Italian Renaissance art.

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Alan Parker's 1982 drama "Shoot the Moon" starred Albert Finney and Diane Keaton as a longtime Northern California couple with a marriage on the rocks. Keaton's character became involved with a contractor (Weller) hired to build a tennis court on her family's property. Meanwhile, Finney's character was having an affair with a single mother (played by Karen Allen). The deterioration of the marriage began to have a negative impact on their four daughters (played by Dana Hill, Viveka Davis, Tracey Gold and Tina Yothers). The movie was written by Bo Goldman, who won Academy Awards for his 1975 screenplay adaptation of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and for his 1980 original screenplay "Melvin and Howard."
 
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In the 1984 cult film "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension," Weller played the title character -- a brilliant Japanese-American neurosurgeon, physicist, automaker and rock band frontman. He and his team (which also doubled as his band) attempted to save the world from inter-dimensional aliens and the mad scientist Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow). Directed by W.D. Richter from a screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch, the film also starred Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Lewis Smith, Rosalind Cash, Robert Ito, Pepe Serna, Clancy Brown and Carl Lumbly.
 
 
The 1984 drama "Firstborn" starred Weller as a drifter who moved in with a divorced woman (Teri Garr) and her two sons. But problems ensued when he clashed with her elder son (played by Christopher Collett). Directed by Michael Apted ("Coal Miner's Daughter"), the film also starred Corey Haim (in his screen debut as the younger son), Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey, Jr.
 
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In Paul Verhoeven's 1987 sci-fi hit "Robocop," Weller played Detroit police officer Alex Murphy -- who was killed in action during a battle with gang members. But he received a second chance at fighting crime when his brain was implanted in a robotic body. The result: RoboCop, the ultimate police operative (althoughthe cyborg retained memories of Murphy's life). The film also starred Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith,  
Miguel Ferrer, Dan O'Herlihy, Paul McCrane, Ray Wise and Robert DoQui. "RoboCop" spawned two sequels (one of them starring Weller), a 1990s television series and a 2014 screen remake. 
 
 
A side note: Weller has cited the Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein's 1944 classic "Ivan the Terrible, Part I" as an influence for his performance as RoboCop. The Soviet film starred the great actor Nikolay Cherkasov as Tsar Ivan IV.
 
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In the 2013 film "Star Trek Into Darkness," Weller made an appearance as Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus -- who apparently had plans to go to war with the Klingons. He was the father of Dr. Carol Marcus (played in the rebooted "Star Trek" series by Alice Eve).
 
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...the actress Linda Cardellini (born June 25, 1975), who has had a career year highlighted by a featured role in an Oscar-winning Best Picture and appearances in back-to-back box-office No. 1s. 
 
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Nickelodeon TV stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell headlined the hit 1997 screen comedy "Good Burger," in which they played employees at a fast food restaurant. The film, which grossed $23.7 million against a budget of $8.5 million, was derived from a recurring segment from the Nickelodeon sketch comedy series "All That." Cardellini made an appearance as an insane girl committed to the Demented Hills asylum where Mitchell's character was temporarily trapped. 

image.gifIn the 1998 horror thriller "Strangeland," Cardellini (pictured below with Amal Rhoe) played Genevieve Gage (Linda Cardellini), a teen drawn to conversations with strangers in computer chat rooms. She agreed to meet a chat room regular who called himself Captain Howdy. He turned out to be Carlton Hendricks (Dee Snider), a sadistic serial killer who enjoyed torturing teens. When Genevieve turned up missing, her police detective father (Kevin Gage) began investigating the case. The film was written and co-produced by Snider, the frontman for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. 

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During the 1999-2000 television season, Cardellini was one of the stars of the short-lived but memorable NBC sitcom "Freaks and Geeks" -- the story of students attending a Detroit-area high school during the early 1980s. Cardellini played Lindsay Ware, a brilliant student who tended to hang out with "freaks." Her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) and his friends were "geeks."  The series was created by Paul Feig, who directed the hit 2011 film comedy "Bridesmaids." Judd Apatow served as the sitcom's executive producer. In addition to Ware, the program featured several young actors who would be heard from again: Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, Jason Segal and James Franco.

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In the 2001 box-office success "Legally Blonde," Cardellini played a murdered billionaire's daughter who testified in the trial of her stepmother (Ali Larter). The witness unraveled during an interrogation by Elle Woods, the promising Harvard Law School student played by Reese Witherspoon. 

In the early 2000s, Cardellin starred as Velma Dinkley -- the brainy and bespectabled member of the crime-solving group Mystery Incorporated -- in two live-action movies based on the "Scooby-Doo" animated TV programs. The other members of the group were played by Sarah Michelle Geller (as Daphne Blake), Matthew Lillard (as Shaggy Rogers) and Freddie Prinze, Jr. (as Fred Jones). The Australian actor Neil Fanning provided the voice of the computer-generated Great Dane for the 2002 film "Scooby-Doo" and its 2004 sequel "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed." 

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From 2003 to 2009, Cardellini starred as Nurse Samantha "Sam" Taggart on the long-running NBC medical series "e.r." The character was a single mother who had given birth to a son when she was 15. 

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The 2005 drama "Brokeback Mountain" starred Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy involved in a covert 20-year relationship with another man (Jake Gyllenhaal). Cardellini played Cassie Cartwright, a Texas waitress who managed to gain Del Mar's attention. Based on a 1997 short story by Annie Proulx, the film won Academy Awards for Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry) and Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla).

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Cardellini received a 2013 Primetime Emmy nomination for her guest appearance in the Season 6 episode of "Mad Men" titled "Man With a Plan." She played housewife Sylvia Rosen, who became involved in an affair with her married neighbor Don Draper (series star Jon Hamm).

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In the 2015 Marvel Cinematic Universe film "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Cardellini played Laura Barton -- the wife of the expert archer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). She was surprised to find out that her unexpected house guests were some of Earth's Greatest Heroes. 

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Based on a true story, the 2018 road film "Green Book" featured Cardellini as the wife of Tony "The Lip" Vallelonga -- an Italian-American bouncer from New York City. In 1962, he temporarily served as a chauffeur and bodyguard for the African-American pianist Dr. Don Shirley (portrayed by Mahershala Ali). As their friendship developed, Shirley provided tips to Vallelonga on how to write poignent love letters to his wife Dolores wife back home. 

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At the 91st Academy Award ceremony held on February 24, 2019, "Green Book" won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay ( Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly. Cardellini (pictured below with cast members Mortensen, Dimiter Marinov and Ali) celebrated the Best Picture win onstage.

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Cardellini (pictured below with young actors Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) starred in the ghost story "The Curse of La Llorona," which was the No. 1 box-office attraction for the weekend of April 21, 2019. She played a widowed 1970s social worker battling the legendary evil spirit of a 300-year-old Mexican woman. A week later, the film was supplanted at the No. 1 spot by the blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame," in which Cardellini reprised the role of Laura Barton. 

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...Jason Schwartzman (born June 26, 1980), the second generation actor known for his frequent collaborations with the imaginative filmmaker Wes Anderson. He also is a musician and was a founding member of the Los Angeles-based band Phantom Planet.
 
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Schwartzman's mother is the actress Talia Shire, who appeared in three Oscar-winning Best Pictures in five years: "The Godfather" (1972), "The Godfather Part II" (1974) and "Rocky" (1976). His father was the entertainment attorney Jack Schwartzman (1932-1994), who produced the 1983 James Bond film "Never Say Never Again." 

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From 1994 to 2003, Schwartzman was the drummer and a songwriter for the band Phantom Planet. He left the group to pursue acting full time. In 2002, he co-wrote the group's song "California," which was used as the opening theme for the FOX drama series "The O.C." from 2003 to 2007. 

In the 1998 comedy "Rushmore," Bill Murray played a business tycoon who befriended Max Fischer (Schwartzman) -- an eccentric student on scholarship at a private school in Houston. One thing the duo had in common: They were both interested in the first-grade teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams). The movie was directed by Anderson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Owen Wilson. 

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In David O. Russell's 2004 offbeat comedy "I ♥ Huckabees," Schwartzman starred as Albert Markovski, who hired a couple of existential detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to help him determine the meaning of life. The film also starred Mark Wahlberg, Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Richard Jenkins, Jean Smart and Shania Twain. 

In 2006, Schwartzman appeared in his cousin Sofia Coppola's historical drama "Marie Antoinette," which featured New Wave and punk rock music. He portrayed France's tragic King Louis XVI (1754–1793), who was deposed during the French Revolution. The film starred Kirsten Dunst as Marie, Louis' doomed queen. An Academy Award went to Milena Canonero for Best Costume Design. 

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Anderson's 2007 comedy/drama "The Darjeeling Limited" revolved around the reunion of three brothers (played by Wilson, Schwartzman and Adrien Brody) as they traveled on a train through India. Written by Anderson, Schwartzman and Roman Coppola (another Schwartzman cousin), the film also starred Murray, Anjelica Huston and Natalie Portman.

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Based on a 1970 children's book by Roald Dahl, the 2009 stop-motion animated film "Fantastic Mr. Fox" followed the humorous adventures of the title character (voiced by George Clooney), his wife Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) and their moody son Ash (pictured below, voiced by Schwartzman). Directed by Anderson, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.
 
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From 2009 to 2011, Schwartzman (pictured below with co-stars Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis) starred as Jonathan Ames -- a struggling Brooklyn writer who moonlighted as a private detective in the HBO comedy "Bored to Death." The actor also composed the TV sitcom's opening theme through his music project, Coconut Records.
 
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The 2012 romantic tale "Moonrise Kingdom" focused on a young orphan (Jared Gilman) who ditched his Khaki Scout camping trip in order to run away to a beach cove with his pen pal (Kara Hayward). Their disappearances caused more than a few anxious moments for the Scout group and the girl's family. Edward Norton played the experienced Scout Master, while Schwartzman was the fast-talking Scout leader Cousin Ben. Anderson and Roman Coppola were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Also starring in the production: Murray,  Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Bob Balaban.

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The 2013 film "Saving Mr. Banks" was the behind-the-scenes story about the making of Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins." Tom Hanks portrayed Disney, who had the challenging task of persuading author P.L. Travers (Dame Emma Thompson) to agree to a film about her popular magical nanny. B.J. Novak and Schwartzman (pictured below) appeared as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Novak was Robert B.; Schwartzman had the role of Richard M.). The collaborative duo went on to win two 1964 Oscars for their musical compositions for "Poppins."
 
 
Anderson's 2014 tale "The Grand Budapest Hotel" starred Ralph Fiennes as the 1930s concierge Monsieur Gustave. In 1968, the concierge was Monsieur Jean, who was light years removed from his savvy predecessor. The film's all-star cast also included Murray, Brody, Law, Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel , Tony Revolori and Tom Wilkinson. The production was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won Oscars for Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), Best Production Design (Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock), Best Costume Design (Canonero) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier).
 
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...Tobey Maguire  (born Tobias Vincent Maguire on June 27, 1975), the onetime child actor who became an A-list star in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy of the 2000s. In recent years, he has concentrated on projects as a producer.
 
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Leonardo DiCaprio and Maguire became friends while auditioning for some of the same parts in Hollywood. DiCaprio beat out Maguire for a role in the 1990-1991 NBC series version of the 1988 film "Parenthood." They also competed for the title role in the 1994 Robert De Niro film "A Boy's Life," DiCaprio won again, but Maguire appeared in the movie in a smaller role.
 
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In Ang Lee's 1997 drama "The Ice Storm," Christina Ricci and Maguire appeared as 1970s teen siblings experimenting with sex and/or addictive substances in their suburban Connecticut town. Their upper-class parents (played by Kevin Kline and Joan Allen) also were caught up in the sexual revolution and found themselves attending a neighborhood key party. Set during the Thanksgiving weekend in 1973, the film was based on the 1994 novel by Paul Moody. The movie was adapted from the novel by co-producer James Schamus, who won Best Screenplay honors at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Also starring in the picture: Sigourney Weaver, Jamey Sheridan, Elijah Wood , Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz and Katie Holmes (in her screen debut). 
 
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The 1998 comedy/drama "Pleasantville" starred Reese Witherspoon and Maguire as contemporary twins inexplicably zapped into the world of a black-and-white television sitcom from the 1950s. The film -- written, directed and co-produced by Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") -- was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Dramatic Score (Randy Newman), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Jeannine Claudia Oppewall and Jay Hart) and Best Costume Design (Judianna Makovsky).
 
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Sir Michael Caine won his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 1999 drama "The Cider House Rules," based on John Irving's 1992 novel (the author earned an Oscar, too, for adapting the movie's screenplay). The British actor played Dr. Wilbur Larch, a World War II-era Maine physician who ran an orphanage -- and provided illegal abortions. He also had an impact on an orphan named Homer (Maguire), who showed promise in the practice of medicine. Directed by the Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallström, the film also received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (David Gropman and Beth A. Rubino), Best Original Score (Rachel Portman) and Best Film Editing (Lisa Zeno Churgin).
 
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In 2000, Maguire co-starred with Robert Downey, Jr. and Michael Douglas in Curtis Hanson's movie "Wonder Boys," a comedy/drama about a Pittsburgh college professor and novelist (Douglas) battling writer's block. The film also starred Holmes, Frances McDormand and Rip Torn. "Things Have Changed," the Bob Dylan tune that opened the movie, earned the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
 
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In the 2002 blockbuster "Spider-Man" (2002) -- based on the Marvel Comics superhero -- Maguire starred as high school teen Peter Parker, whose life changed after he was bitten by a radioactive arachnid. Kirsten Dunst co-starred as Mary Jane Watson, Parker's love interest. They returned for two sequels: "Spider-Man 2" (2004) and "Spider-Man 3" (2007).
 
 
A side note: One of moviedom's most famous kissing scenes was in "Spider-Man," when Mary Jane rewarded an upside-down Web-Slinger for saving her from a group of thugs.
 

In the 2003 horseracing tale "Seabiscuit," Maguire portrayed Red Pollard  -- the real-life Canadian jockey who overcame hardships to ride the title horse to glory during the Depression era. Written and directed by Ross ("Pleasantville), the film  was adapted from the 1999 best-selling book "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" by author Laura Hillenbrand. The screen version earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

 
Maguire made a cameo in Ben Stiller's 2008 comedy "Tropic Thunder," which featured Downey as an Australian Method actor who darkened his skin for a role as an African-American soldier in a Vietnam film. The picture featured a faux movie trailer starring Downey's thespian character and Maguire,
 
 
Maguire and DiCaprio were reunited onscreen in the Australian director Baz Luhrmann's 2013 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby." DiCaprio starred as the title character -- a mysterious man of wealth who threw lavish summer parties in 1920s Long Island, N.Y. Maguire played the story's narrator, Nick Carraway, who befriended Gatsby. Carey Mulligan appeared as Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby's onetime love who married millionaire Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Luhrmann's wife and co-producer Catherine Martin received Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design (shared with Beverley Dunn).
 
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...Mel Brooks (born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926), the versatile impresario and  funnyman who in 2001, became the eighth person ever to win all four of the major entertainment awards. 
 
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image.gifHe has been nominated for three Academy Awards (Oscar wins in bold): 

  • 1968 -- Best Original Screenplay (for "The Producers").
  • 1974 -- Best Original Song (for "Blazing Saddles" from "Blazing Saddles," shared with John Morris).
  • 1974 -- Best Adapted Screenplay (for "Young Frankenstein," shared with Gene Wilder"). 

He is one of only 15 people who have achieved EGOT status -- winning at least an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. In addition to his Academy Award, he has picked up four Primetime Emmys, three Grammys and three Tonys.

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Brooks (pictured below with Sid Caesar, Mel Tolkin and Lucille Kallen) was one of the writers for the Caesar's legendary NBC variety program "Your Show of Shows." Others who wrote for the show included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Larry Gelbart and Selma Diamond. 

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Reiner and Brooks became great friends and sometime comedy partners. Their long-running stand-up routine in which Reiner interviewed the "Two Thousand Year-Old Man" has entertainment audiences for years. In 1999, they shared a Best Spoken Word Album Grammy for their comedy LP "The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000."  The comedy greats still see each other frequently and watch television together at Reiner's home.

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On October 1, 1992, Brooks was one of Johnny Carson's first guests on his debut episode of NBC's "The Tonight Show." This was back in the days when the late-night talk show was 90-minutes long, taped in New York City  and a guest could sit at Carson's desk. Among the others who appeared on the first show: Groucho Marx (who introduced Carson), actress Joan Crawford (pictured below with Carson and Brooks), Tony Bennett, Rudy Vallée and actor Ed Metzger. 

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Brooks and Buck Henry created the television sitcom "Get Smart," a spoof of James Bond-like spy films. The series, which aired on NBC from 1965 to  1969 and CBS from 1969 to 1970, starred Don Adams as CONTROL agent Maxwell Smart, Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 and Edward Platt as the chief of the spy agency. A recurring gag involved Smart's insistence on using the Cone of Silence for top-secret conversations. 

He won his first Primetime Emmy Award for co-writing "The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris Special" on CBS. The variety special, which reunited the stars of "Your Show of Shows" won the award for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety. Brooks shared the Emmy with Reiner, Tolkin and Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The special aired on April 5, 1967.

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Brooks directed and wrote the screenplay for the 1967 film "The Producers," a madcap comedy about behind-the scenes skulduggery in the world of Broadway. The picture starred Mostel as struggling Broadway producer Max Bialystock, who came up with a surefire moneymaking scheme. His idea: Create a show guaranteed to fail and then bring in a ridiculous number of backers to finance it. If the show closed after a disastrous opening night, Bialystock and his accountant partner Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder, a Best Supporting Actor nominee) could head off to South America with a cool million-dollar profit. Bialystock settled on a play titled "Springtime for Hitler," written by a Nazi sympathizer named Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars). He then hired the flamboyant Roger De Bris (Christopher Hewett) as the director and a hippie actor known as L.S.D. (Dick Shawn) to portray the Fuhrer.
 
 
At the 41st annual Academy Awards ceremony held on April 14, 1969, Brooks won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for "The Producers." His response: "I'll just say what's in my heart: 'Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump.' "
 
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Brooks (pictured below with Frank Langella) wrote, directed and appeared in "The Twelve Chairs" (1970), an adaptation of a 1928 Russian novel by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov. The versatile comic also wrote the movie's theme song heard during the opening credits -- "Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst." Set in the newly Communist-run Soviet Union a few years after the 1917 Russian Revolution, the comedy was about a frantic search for pre-Bolshevik era jewels hidden in one of 12 London-made dining chairs. Among those in pursuit of the treasure: a once-wealthy aristocrat (Ron Moody) whose late mother-in-law hid the jewels; a renegade priest (Dom DeLuise) who heard her deathbed confession; and a con artist (Langella, in his film debut) who wormed his way into the chase. Brooks played Tikon, the aristocrat's former servant. This was the first Brooks movie to feature DeLuise, who later appeared in such comedy projects as "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World: Part I" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."
 
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Directed and co-written by Brooks, the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles" was an off-the-wall send-up of Westerns -- and race relations in America. Set in 1874, the film starred Cleavon Little as Bart, a black railroad worker who somehow became the sheriff of the all-white town of Rock Ridge.Richard Pryor, who was a co-writer for "Blazing Saddles," was Brooks' first choice to play Sheriff Bart. When that didn't pan out, the role went to Little (1939-1992), a Tony Award-winning actor known for his stage performances. The movie is full of anachronisms, including Bart's Gucci saddlebag and his encounter in the desert with Count Basie and His Orchestra performing its arrangement of"April in Paris." Brooks also played two characters in the film: Governor. William J. Le Petomane and a Native American tribal leader. Also starring were Wilder (as the gunslinger"The Waco Kid"), DeLuise (as the filmmaker Buddy Bizarre), Harvey Korman (as Hedley Lamarr), Madeline Kahn (a Best Supporting Actress nominee as a Dietrich-like saloon singer), Slim Pickens and Alex Karras (as Mongo).
 
 
Also in 1974, Brooks and Wilder created "Young Frankenstein," a spoof of the 1930s horror films "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein." Wilder starred as Victor Frankenstein, who followed in his grandfather's scientific footsteps by reanimating a creature made of dead flesh (Peter Boyle). Also starring in the black-and-white production: Kahn, Mars, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr. The film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Brooks and Wilder) and Best Sound (Richard Portman and Gene S. Cantamessa).


After successfully spoofing Westerns ("Blazing Saddles") and horror movies ("Young Frankenstein"), Brooks took on the pre-sound era of filmmaking in "Silent Movie" (1976), Only one word was spoken in the film -- and it was uttered by the last person anyone would have expected. Brooks' wife, the Academy Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft, appeared as herself in the film. Also starring were DeLuise, Feldman, Caesar, Bernadette Peters and Harold Gould. Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Liza Minnelli, Paul Newman and the French mime Marcel Marceau appeared as themselves. 

 
In "High Anxiety," Mel Brooks' 1977 parody of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's films, Brooks played the lead character -- Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke. The name was a send-up of the monicker of Cary Grant's character -- Roger O. Thornhill -- in the 1959 thriller "North By Northwest." Brooks produced, directed, co-wrote and starred in the spoof, which featured references to more than a dozen Hitchcock pictures, including "Vertigo," "Rear Window," "Notorious," "Spellbound" and "Dial M for Murder." There also were gags involving the Master of Suspense and his style, including his fondness for clever camerawork and cool blondes (Kahn's platinum-tressed character wears clothing that matches her car). Also starring in the film: Leachman, Korman, Morris, Ron Carey,  Dick Van Patten, Jack Riley and Charlie Callas. 
 
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The comedy genius Brooks sometimes dabbled in highbrow films through his production company, Brooksfilms Limited -- frequently without using his name in the credits. One of the company's biggest dramatic successes was "The Elephant Man" (1980), directed by David Lynch --who later attained notoriety for the offbeat early 1990s television series "Twin Peaks." "The Elephant Man," based on the true experiences of a deformed but brilliant 19th-century Londoner, received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (John Hurt, pictured below with Sir Anthony Hopkins).

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Also in 1982, Richard Benjamin made his screen debut with Brooksfilms' comedy "My Favorite Year." The film starred Mark Linn-Baker as a young writer for a 1950s television comedy/variety show. He was given a special assignment to babysit the hard-drinking, unpredictable movie star Allan Swan (Peter O'Toole), a guest star for the next episode of the program. O'Toole's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Also starring in the comedy: Jessica Harper, Joseph Bologna, Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, Lou Jacobi, Adolph Green and Selma Diamond. 
 
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Another important picture from Brooksfilms was "Frances," the 1982 screen biography of ill-fated actress Frances Farmer (1913-1970) -- whose career was upended by her battle with mental problems...and institutions. The drama earned Oscar nominations for Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley, who portrayed Farmer and her mother, respectively. Neither won, but Lange's indelible performance likely helped her win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year for her work in the Dustin Hoffman comedy "Tootsie."

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In 1987, Brooksfilms provided a noteworthy vehicle for Bancroft, whom Brooks married in 1964. She starred in "84 Charing Cross Road," a remarkable story based on the real-life correspondence from 1949 to 1968 between American writer Helene Hanff (Bancroft) and London book dealer Frank Doel (Hopkins). Dame Judi Dench co-starred as Doel's wife.Image result for anne bancroft 84 charing cross road

In 2001, Brooks created a musical version of "The Producers" for the Broadway stage. The production, which starred Nathan Lane as Bialystock and Matthew Broderick as Bloom, won a record 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Brooks is pictured below with Susan Stroman, who won Tonys for directing and choreographing the stage production. The show ran for 2,502 performances before closing on April 22, 2007.

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A side note: In 2004, Season 4 of the HBO comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" focused on Larry David's starring role as Bialystock in the Broadway production of "The Producers." After a falling out with Ben Stiller, David's co-star as Leo Bloom was former "Friends" star David Schwimmer. The season's final episode, "Opening Night," mirrored the storyline of the movie and the musical. Brooks, appearing as himself, schemed to put an end to the long-running show by making sure that David's stage debut was a failure. Bancroft, made her final television appearance in the episode. She died of cancer on June 6, 2005 at the age of 73.

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In 2005, Lane and Broderick reprised their stage roles in a musical film version of the Broadway success. They were joined by newcomer Uma Thurman, who played the Swedish secretary Ulla. The picture was directed by Stroman.

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Brooks was one of five entertainment greats feted at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December 2009. The other honorees were the actor Robert De Niro, the opera diva Grace Bumbry, the singer Bruce Springsteen and the jazz great Dave Brubeck.

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In 2013, Brooks became the 41st recipient of the American Film Institute's annual Life Achievement Award. It was the first time the honor was bestowed on a filmmaker known primarily for comedy (Steve Martin received the award two years later). 

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On September 22, 2016, President Obama presented Brooks the 2015 National Medal of Arts during an East Room ceremony at the White House. He was cited for "a lifetime of making the world laugh. As a writer, director, actor, and musician, he pioneered the art of musical comedy, and his hilarious, thought-provoking work on film and in theater have earned him the rare distinction of winning Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards."

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Brooks' son Max, now 47, has become something of a creative force himself. He is a former "Saturday Night Live" writer-turned-best selling author about zombies. His 2006 book "World War Z: An_Oral History of the Zombie War" was adapted as a 2013 blockbuster horror film starring Brad Pitt. Max Brooks also wrote the "The Harlem Hellfighters," a 2014 graphic novel based on the historic exploits of an Army unit of African-American soldiers during World War I. 

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...Gary Busey (born William Gary Busey on June 29, 1944), the veteran actor who has appeared in more than 100 films and television productions. His career has had its share of setbacks, including a cocaine addiction and a serious head injury when he was involved in a 1988 motorcycle accident without a helmet.

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image.gifHe has been nominated for one Academy Award: 

  • Buddy Holly in "The Buddy Holly Story (1978). Best Actor.

One of Busey's early pictures was "Lolly-Madonna XXX," a 1973 drama based on Sue Grafton's 1969 novel "The Lolly-Madonna War." The film focused on a long-simmering feud between two rural Tennessee families that escalated into a shooting war. The catalysts for the explosion: a forged postcard and the arrival of a young woman (Season Hubley, in her film debut) just passing through. Rod Steiger starred as the patriarch of the Feather family, while Robert Ryan played the head of the rival Gutshall clan. Directed by Richard C. Sarafian ("Vanishing Point"), the cast also featured Jeff Bridges, Scott Wilson, Ed Lauter, Randy Quaid, Kiel Martin, Katherine Squire, Tresa Hughes, Paul Koslo, and Joan Goodfellow. 

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Busey received a 1978 Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, thanks to his earnest portrayal in "The Buddy Holly Story" of the 1950s rock 'n' roll pioneer (whose meteoric rise ended in sudden tragedy). Joe Renzetti, who appeared as a studio violinist, won the Best Adaptation Score Oscar for his arrangements of Holly's music -- including the songs "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be the Day," "True Love Ways" and "Not Fade Away." Directed by Steve Rash ("Can't Buy Me Love"), the musical biopic also was nominated for Best Sound (Tex Rudloff, Joel Fein, Curly Thirlwell and Willie D. Burton). The film was significant because the performers sang the songs themselves. This trend would continue two years later with Sissy Spacek's Academy Award-winning performance as Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter."

Busey's son Jake made his screen debut in the 1978 drama "Straight Time," which starred Dustin Hoffman as career criminal Max Dembo -- who hoped to stay out of trouble after being paroled from a California prison. Despite a promising relationship with a good woman (Theresa Russell), Dembo was threatened by an overbearing parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) who made his life miserable. Busey (pictured below with Jake, Hoffman and Kathy Bates) played Dembo's old friend and reluctant getaway driver during a bold daylight jewelry store heist. Directed by Ulu Grosbard ("The Subject Was Roses," "True Confessions"), the film was based on the novel "No Beast So Fierce" by former prison inmate Edward Bunker

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A side note: Jake Busey (pictured below with his dad) went on to star in such movies as "Contact" (1997), "Starship Troopers" (1997), "Enemy of the State" (1998),"Reaper" (2015) and "The Predator" (2018).

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John Milius co-wrote and directed the 1978 film "Big Wednesday," the tale of three surfing buddies (played by Busey, Jan-Michael Vincent and William Katt). The picture wasn't a box-office hit, but it has since developed a cult following.

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Near the end of the 1983 screen comedy "D.C. Cab," Busey's character Dell memorably tells his fellow taxi drivers that he won't work on January the 8th. His explanation: " 'Cause that's Elvis' birthday!" Directed by Joel Schumacher ("St. Elmo's Fire," "The Lost Boys"), the film also starred Max Gail, Adam Baldwin, Mr. T., Marsha Warfield, Paul Rodriguez and Bill Maher. 

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In the 1984 sports biopic "The Bear," Busey portrayed the legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant (1913-1983) -- winner of a record six national championships. Directed by Sarafian, ("Lolly-Madonna XXX"), the film also starred Cynthia Leake, Jon-Erik Hexum, D'Urville Martin, Cary Guffey and Harry Dean Stanton. 

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In the 1987 police action/buddy film "Lethal Weapon," L.A.P.D. detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) -- who was suicidal and possibly insane -- had a climactic showdown in the rain with the sadistic villain Mr. Joshua (Busey). The battle was on the front lawn of Riggs' partner Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), a family man considering retirement. Directed by Richard Donner ("Superman"), the film was a worldwide smash and launched sequels in 1989, 1992 and 1998. 

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The 1991 detective thriller "Point Break" starred Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah, a former college football star turned FBI agent. He went undercover to investigate a group of surfers -- including Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze) -- believed to be connected to a series of stylish bank robberies in Southern California. Busey co-starred as the veteran FBI agent Angelo Pappas, who worked the case with Utah. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow -- who two decades later became the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar -- the drama also starred Lori Petty and John C. McGinley. The film was remade in 2015.

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When Conan O'Brien began his late-night TBS talk show in November 2010, one of his recurring gags involved a blimp that annoyed Busey from up above.

 

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...Vincent D'Onofrio (born Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio on June 30, 1959), the underappreciated Method actor known for becoming chameleon-like when undertaking various roles.

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D'Onofrio made his screen debut in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Vietnam war film "Full Metal Jacket." He played Private Leonard Lawrence -- a struggling U.S. Marine recruit derided in boot camp as "Gomer Pyle"  by his overbearing drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). D'Onofrio gained 70 pounds for the role of the overweight Lawrence.

Also in 1987, D'Onofrio appeared in Chris Columbus' comedy "Adventures in Babysitting." The film starred Elisabeth Shue as a teen babysitter attempting to guide her young charge (Maia Brewton) and others through rough areas of Chicago. D'Onofrio played a mechanic named Dawson mistaken for the superhero Thor by the awestruck little girl. 

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From 1989 to 1992, D'Onofrio was involved with the Italian-born British actress Greta Scacchi (rhymes with "catchy"). They co-starred in three 1992 films: "Fires Within," "Salt on Our Skin" (also released as "Desire") and Robert Altman's tale about Hollywood, "The Player." The couple split several months after the birth of their daughter Leila George D'Onofrio in March 1992. 

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D'Onofrio portrayed the great actor and filmmaker Orson Welles (1915-1985) in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic "Ed Wood." But the actor's lines were later dubbed by the veteran Canadian voice actor Maurice LaMarche ("Animaniacs," "Pinky and the Brain").

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The 1996 biopic "The Whole Wide Wide" featured a little-known actress named Renée Zellweger as Novalyne Price, a 1930s Texas schoolteacher. D'Onofrio co-produced the film and portrayed her love interest -- Robert E. Howard, the pulp writer who created Conan the Barbarian. Directed by Dan Ireland, the film also starred Ann Wedgeworth and Harve Presnell. When Zellweger won the 2004 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Cold Mountain," she thanked D'Onofrio in her acceptance speech "for teaching me how to work."

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In the 1997 international blockbuster "Men in Black," D'Onofrio briefly played a dual role. He was Edgar, a temperamental farmer in upstate New York who investigated a disturbance outside his home. The actor also played the alien being -- soon to be known as "Edgar the Bug" -- that took over the now-deceased farmer's body. 

D'Onofrio earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for a 1997 guest performance on NBC's police procedural series "Homicide: Life on the Street." In the Season 6 episode "The Subway," he appeared as John Lange -- a doomed man pinned between a train and a station platform. Series star Andre Braugher's character Baltimore police detective Frank Pembleton arrived on the scene to determine if the accident was intentional or not. The series won a Peabody Award for its "sustained excellence," citing in particular the episode featuring D'Onofrio. Braugher won the Emmy that season for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

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For most of the period between 2001 and 2011, D'Onofrio (pictured below with the actress Kathryn Erbe) starred in the NBC series "Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He played N.Y.P.D. detective Robert Goren, a character said to have been modeled after Sherlock Holmes. Eames appeared as his partner, Detective Alexandra Eames.

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D'Onofrio played the New York crime figure known as The Kingpin (real name: Wilson Fisk) in the Netflix drama "Daredevil." The series, which starred the British actor Charlie Cox as the Marvel Comics superhero (in reality the blind attorney Matt Murtdockl), aired from 2015 to 2018.

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The 2016 screen remake of "The Magnificent Seven" featured D'Onofrio as Jack Horne, a mountain man and expert tracker of the 1870s. He joined forces with U.S. Marshal Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington), the gambling rogue Joshua Faraday (Chris Pratt), former Confederate sodier Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and others for a special task. The mission: To overthrow a tyrannical industrialist (Peter Sarsgaard) who controlled a frontier town. The Western was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who had previously worked with Washington in the films "Training Day" (2001) and "The Equalizer' (2014).

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D'Onofrio's daughter from his relationship with Scacchi is now 27 and acts under the name Leila George. She appeared in the 2018 film "Mortal Engines" and the 2019 Western "The Kid," in which her father served as the director as well as a co-star. George also has joined the cast of the TNT drama series "Animal Kingdom" for Season 4, which began airing last month.

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